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X. 






LOST LEADERS 



a 



By the same Author. 



IN THE ^WRONG PARADISE, and 
other Stories. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

XXXII. BALLADES IN BLUE 
CHINA. Elzevir 8vo, 5J. 

RHYMES A LA MODE. With Frontis- 
piece by E. A. Abbey. Elzevir 8vo, 5^. 



London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt- 



LOST LEADERS 



BY 

ANDREW LANG 



SECOND EDITION 






LONDON: 
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., Lt? 

1892 



« < 



•• ;*« • ». wji c. 



(,TAe rights of trattslation and of reproduction are reserved.) 



?Rmi^ 



U^- K^ 






PREFACE. 



These articles are reprinted, by the per- 
mission of the Editor, from the Daily News. 
They were selected and arranged by Mr. 
Pett Ridge, who, with the Publishers, will 
perhaps kindly take a share in the responsi- 
bility of republishing them. 



250294 



CONTENTS, 



PAGE 

Scotch Rivers ... ... ... ... i 

Salmon-Fishing ... ... ... ... 9 

Winter Sports ... ... ... ... 17 

Human Levitation ... ... ... 24 

A Chinaman's Marriage ... .. ... 31 

Sieur de Montaigne ... ... ... 38 

Thackeray's Drawings ... ... ... 45 

Golf ... ... ... .. ... 53 

Art of Dining ... ... ... ... 62 

American Humour ... ... ... 70 

Suspended Animation ... ... ... 78 

Breaking Up ... ... ... ... 85 

On Shaving ... ... ... ... ... 92 

Street Noises ... ... ... ... 100 

Lending of Books ... ... ... ... 107 

Club Bores ... ... ... ... 114 

Phiz ... ... ... ... ... ... 121 



via CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Theory and Practice of Proposals ... ... 128 

Master Samuel Pepys ... ... ... 136 

Involuntary Bailees ... ... ... ... 143 

Summer Nights ... ... ... ... 150 

On Hypochondriacs ... ... ... ... 158 

Thackeray's London ... ... ... 166 

Torrid Summer ... ... ... ... i73 

Western Drolls ... ... ... ... 181 

Show Sunday ... ... ... ... 189 

The Dry Fly ... ... ... .. i97 

Amateur Authors ... ... ... ... 204 

Some Rare Things for Sale ... ... 211 

Curiosity Hunting ... ... ... ... 219 



LOST LEADERS. 



SCOTCH RIVERS, 

September is the season of the second and 
lovelier youth of the river-scenery of Scotland. 
Spring comes but slowly up that way ; it is 
June before the woods have quite clothed 
themselves. In April the angler or the 
sketcher is chilled by the east wind, whirling 
showers of hail, and even when the river- 
banks are sweet with primroses, the bluff tops 
of the border hills are often bleak with late 
snow. This state of things is less unpro- 
pitious to angling than might be expected. 
A hardy race of trout will sometimes rise 
freely to the artificial fly when the natural fly 
is destroyed, and the angler is almost blinded 
with dusty snowflakes. All through mid- 
summer the Scotch rivers lose their chief 

B 






" • « •' '''I *'- "•*" * • • • ' 

« r , , , ,♦ , e , e ► « , , 



2 ZC^i"/ LEADERS. 

attractions. The bracken has not yet changed 
its green for the fairy gold, the hue of its 
decay ; the woods wear a uniform and 
sombre green ; the waters are low and 
shrunken, and angling is almost impossible. 
But with September the pleasant season 
returns for people who love " to be quiet, and 
go a-fishing," or a-sketching. The hills put 
on a wonderful harmony of colours, the woods 
rival the October splendours of English 
forests. The bends of the Tweed below 
Melrose and round ^Mertoun — a scene that, 
as Scott says, the river seems loth to leave — 
may challenge comparison with anything the 
Thames can show at Nuneham or Cliefden. 
The angler, too, is as fortunate as the lover 
of the picturesque. The trout that have 
hidden themselves all summer, or at best 
have cautiously nibbled at the worm-bait, 
now rise freely to the fly. Wherever a yellow 
leaf drops from birch tree or elm the great 
trout are splashing, and they are too eager 
to distinguish very subtly between flies of 
nature's making and flies of fur and feather. 
It is a time when every one who can manage 
it should be by the water-side, and should 
take with him, if possible, the posthumous 



SCOTCH RIVERS. 3 

work of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder on the 
'' Rivers of Scotland." 

This book, as the author of "Rab and 
his Friends " tells us in the preface, is a re- 
publication of articles written in 1848, on 
the death-bed of the author, a man of 
many accomplishments and of a most lovable 
nature. He would lie and dictate or write 
in pencil these happy and wistful memories 
of days passed by the banks of Tweed and 
Tyne. He did not care to speak of the 
northern waters : of Tay, which the Roman 
invaders compared to Tiber ; of Laxford, the 
river of salmon ; or of the " thundering Spey." 
Nor has he anything to say of the west, and 
of Galloway, the country out of which young 
Lochinvar came, with its soft and broken 
hills, like the lower spurs of the Pyrenees, 
and its streams, now rushing down defiles 
of rock, now stealing with slow foot through 
the plains. He confines himself to the limits 
of the Scottish Arcadia ; to the hills near 
Edinburgh, where Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd 
loved and sang in a rather affected way ; and 
to the main stream and the tributaries of the 
Tweed. He tells, with a humour like that of 
Charles Lamb in his account of his youthful 



4 LOST LEADERS. 

search for the mysterious fountain-head of 
the New River, how he sought among the 
Pentland Hills for the source of the brook 
that flowed past his own garden. The wan- 
dering stream led him through many a scene 
renowned in Border history, up to the heights 
whence Marmion surveyed the Scottish forces 
encamped on Borough Moor before the fatal 
day of Flodden. These scenes are described 
with spirit and loving interest ; but it is by 
Tweedside that the tourist will find his most 
pleasant guide in Lauder's book. Just as 
Cicero said of Athens, that in every stone you 
tread on a history, so on Tweedside by every 
nook and valley you find the place of a 
ballad, a story, or a legend. From Tweed's 
source, near the grave of the Wizard Merlin, 
down to Berwick and the sea, the Border 
" keeps " and towers are as frequent as castles 
on the Rhine. Each has its tradition, its 
memory of lawless times, which have become 
beautiful in the magic of poetry and the mist 
of the past. First comes Neidpath Castle, 
with its vaulted "hanging chamber" in the 
roof, and the rafter, with the iron ring to 
which prisoners were hanged, still remaining 
to testify to the lawless power of Border lords. 



SCOTCH RIVERS. 5 

Neldpath has a softer legend of the death ot 
the lady of the house, when her lover failed to 
recognize the features that had wasted with 
sorrow for his absence. Lower down the 
river comes Clovenfords, with its memories of 
Christopher North, and Peebles, where King- 
James I. sings that there was "dancing and 
derray " in his time ; and still lower Ashie- 
steel, where Scott was young and happy, and 
Abbotsford, where his fame and his misfor- 
tunes found him out. It was on a bright 
afternoon in late September that he died 
there, and the mourners by his bed heard 
through the silence the murmuring of Tweed. 
How many other associations there are by 
the tributary rivers ! what a breath of " pas- 
toral melancholy " ! There is Ettrick, where 
the cautious lover in the old song of Ettrick 
banks found "a canny place of meeting." 
Oakwood Tower, where Michael Scott, the 
wizard, wove his spells, is a farm building — 
the haunted magician's room is a granary ; 
Earlstone, where Thomas the Rhymer dwelt, 
and whence the two white deer recalled him 
to Elfland and to the arms of the fairy 
queen, is noted " for its shawl manufactory." 
Only Yarrow still keeps its ancient quiet, and 



6 LOST LEADERS. 

the burn that was tinged by the blood of 
Douglas is unstained by more common- 
place dyes. 

All these changes make the "Rivers of 
Scotland " rather melancholy reading. Thirty 
years have not passed since Lauder died, 
and how much he would miss if he could 
revisit his beloved water ! Spearing salmon 
by torchlight is a forbidden thing. The 
rocks are no longer lit up with the red glow ; 
they resound no longer with the shouts and 
splashing of the yeomen. You might almost 
as readily find a hart on Harthope, or a wild 
cat at Catslack, or a wolf at Wolf-Cleugh, as 
catch three stone-weight of trout in Meggat- 
water.* The days of guileless fish and fabu- 
lous draughts of trout are over. No sports- 
man need take three large baskets to the 
Gala now, as Lauder did, and actually filled 
them with thirty-six dozen of trout. The 
modern angler must not allow his expecta- 
tions to be raised too highly by these stories. 
Sport has become much more difficult in 
these times of rapidly growing population. 
It is a pleasant sight to see the weavers 
spending their afternoons beside the Tweed ; 

* Except with worm in a summer flood. 



SCOTCH RIVERS. 7 

it is such a sight as could not be witnessed 
by the closely preserved rivers of England. 
But the weavers have taught the trout 
caution, and the dyes and various pollutions 
of trade have thinned their numbers. Mr. 
Ruskin sees no hope in this state of things ; 
he preaches, in the spirit of old Hesiod, that 
there is no piety in a race which defiles 
the "holy waters." But surely civilization, 
even if it spoil sport and degrade scenery, is 
better than a state of things in which the 
laird would hang up his foes to an iron ring 
in the roof. The hill of Cowden Knowes 
may be a less eligible place for lovers' meet- 
ings than it was of old. But in those times 
the lord of Cowden Knowes is said by tradi- 
tion to have had a way of putting his 
prisoners in barrels studded with iron nails, 
and rolling them down a brae. This is the 
side of the good old times which should not 
be overlooked. It may not be pleasant to 
find blue dye and wool yarn in Teviot, but it 
is more endurable than to have to encounter 
the bandit Barnskill, who hewed his bed 
of flint, Scott says, in Minto Crags. Still, 
the reading of the " Rivers of Scotland " 
leaves rather a sad impression on the reader, 



8 LOST LEADERS. 

and makes him ask once more if there is 
no way of reconciling the beauty of rude 
ages with the comforts and culture of civiliza- 
tion. This is a question that really demands 
an answer, though it is often put in a mis- 
taken way. The teachings of Mr. Ruskin 
and of his followers would bring us back to a 
time when printing was not, and an engineer 
would have been burned for a wizard.* 
But there is a point at which civilization and 
production must begin to respect the limits 
of the beautiful, on which they so constantly 
encroach. Who is to settle the limit, and 
escape the charge of being either a dilettante 
and a sentimentalist on the one hand, or a 
Philistine on the other ? 

* Perhaps an Editor put this moral in ? 



( 9 ) 



SALMON-FISHING, 

Salmon-fishing for this season is over, and, 
in spite of the fresh and open weather, most 
anelers will feel that the time has come to 
close the fly-book, to wind up the reel, and 
to consign the rod to its winter quarters. 
Salmon-fishing ceases to be very enjoyable 
when the siiaw broo, or melted snow from the 
hilltops, begins to mix with the brown waters 
of Tweed or Tay ; when the fallen leaves 
hamper the hook ; and when the fish are 
becoming sluggish, black, and the reverse of 
comely. Now the season of retrospect com- 
mences, the time of the pleasures of memory, 
and the delights of talking shop dear to 
anglers. Most sporting talk is dull to every 
one but the votaries of the particular amuse- 
ment. Few things can be drearier to the 
outsider than the conversation of cricketers, 
unless it be the recondite lore which whist- 



lo LOST LEADERS. 

players bring forth from the depths of their 
extraordinary memories. But angling talk 
has a variety, recounts an amount of incident 
and adventure, and wakens a feeling of free 
air in a way with which the records of no other 
sport, except perhaps deer-stalking, can com- 
pete. The salmon is, beyond all rivalry, 
the strongest and most beautiful, and most 
cautious and artful, of fresh-water fishes. To 
capture him is not a task for slack muscles or 
an uncertain eye. There is even a slight 
amount of personal risk in the sport. The 
fisher must often wade till the water reaches 
above the waist in cold and rushing streams, 
where his feet are apt to slip on the smooth 
stones or trip on the rough rocks beneath 
him. When the salmon takes the fly, there 
is no time for picking steps. The line rushes 
out so swiftly as to cut the fingers if it touches 
them, and then is the moment when the 
angler must follow the fish at the top of his 
speed. To stand still, or to go cautiously in 
pursuit, is to allow the salmon to run out 
with an enormous length of line ; the line is 
submerged — technically speaking, drowned — 
in the water, the strain of the supple rod is 
removed from the fish, who finds the hook 



SALMOX-FISHING. ii 

loose in his mouth, and rubs it off against the 
bottom of the river. Thus speed of foot, in 
water or over rocks, is a necessary quality in 
the angler ; at least in the northern angler. 
By the banks of the Usk a contemplative 
man who likes to take things easily may find 
pretty sure footing on grassy slopes, or on a 
gravelly bottom. But it is a different thing 
to hook a large salmon where the Tweed 
foams under the bridge of Yair down to the 
narrows and linns below. If the angler hesi- 
tates there, he is lost. Does he stand still 
and give the fish line ? The astute creature 
cuts it against the sharp rocks below the 
bridge, and the rod, relieved of the weight, 
leaps straight in the fisher's hand, and in his 
heart there is a sense of emptiness and 
sudden desolation. Does he try to follow, 
the chances are that his feet slip ; after one 
or two wild struggles he is on his back in the 
water, and nearly strangled with his fishing- 
basket. In either case the fish goes on his 
way rejoicing, and, after the manner of his 
kind, leaps out of the water once or twice — a 
maddening sight. 

Adventures like this are among the bitter 
memories of the angler. The fish that break 



12 LOST LEADERS. 

away are monstrous animals ; ima<^ination in- 
creases their bulk, and fond desire paints 
them clean-run and bright as silver. There 
are other chances of the angler's life scarcely 
less sad than this. When a hook breaks 
just as the salmon was losing strength, was 
ceasing to struggle, and beginning to sway 
with the mere force of the stream, and to 
show his shining sides — when a hook breaks 
at such a moment, it Is very hard to bear. 
The oath of Ernulphus seems all too weak to 
express the feelings of the sportsman and his 
wrath against the wretched tackle-maker. 
Again, when the fish is actually conquered ; 
when he is being towed gently into some 
little harbour among the tall slim water- 
grasses, or into a pebbly cove, or up to a 
green bank ; when the bitterness of struggle 
is past, and he seems resigned and almost 
happy ; when at this crisis the clumsy gllly 
with the gaff scratches him, rouses him to a 
last exertion, and entangles the line, so that 
the salmon breaks free — that is an experience 
to which language cannot do justice. The 
ancient painter drew his veil over the face of 
Agamemnon present at his daughter's sacri- 
fice. Silence and sympathy are all one can 



SALMON-FISHING. 13 

offer to the angler who has tolled all day, 
and in this wise caught nothing. There is 
yet another very bitter sorrow. It is a hard 
thing for a man to leave town and hurry to a 
river in the west, a river that perhaps he has 
known since he fished for minnows with a 
bent pin in happy childhood. The west is 
not a dry land ; effeminate tourists complain 
that the rain it raineth every day. But the 
heavy soft rain is the very life of an angler. 
It keeps the stream of that clear brown hue, 
between porter and amber, which he loves ; 
and it encourages the salmon to keep rushing 
from the estuary and the sea right up to the 
mountain loch, where they rest. But sup- 
pose there is a dry summer — and such things 
have been even in Argyleshire. The heart of 
the tourist is glad within him, but as the 
river shrinks and shrinks, a silver thread 
among slimy green mosses in the streams, a 
sheet of clear water in the pools, the angler 
repines, Day after sultry day goes by, and 
there is no hope. There is a cloud on the 
distant hill ; it is only the smoke from some 
moor that has caught fire. The river grows 
so transparent that it is easy to watch the 
lazy fish sulking at the bottom. Then comes 



14 LOST LEADERS. 

a terrible temptation. Men, men calling 
themselves sportsmen, have been known to 
fish in the innocent dewy morning, with 
worm, with black lob worm. Worse remains 
behind. Persons of ungoverned passions, 
maddened by the sight of the fish, are be- 
lieved to have poached w4th rake-hooks, a 
cruel apparatus made of three hooks fastened 
back to back and loaded with lead. These 
are thrown over the fish, and then struck into 
him with a jerk. But the mind willingly 
turns away from the contemplation of such 
actions. 

It is pleasanter to think of not unsuccessful 
days by lowland or highland streams, when 
the sun was veiled, the sky pearly grey, the 
water, as the people say, in grand order. 
There is the artistic excitement of choosing 
the hook, gaudy for a heavy water, neat and 
modest for a clearer stream. There is the 
feverish moment of adjusting rod and line, 
while you mark a fish "rising to himself." 
You begin to cast well above him, and come 
gradually down, till the fly lights on the 
place where he is lying. Then there is a slow 
pull, a break in the water, a sudden strain at 
the line, which flies through the rings of the 



SALMON-FISHING. ij 

rod. It is not well to give too much line ; best 
to follow his course, as he makes off as if for 
Berwick and the sea. Once or twice he leaps 
clean into the air, a flying bar of silver. Then 
he sulks at the bottom, a mere dead weight, 
attempting devices only to be conjectured. 
A common plan now is to tighten the line, 
and tap the butt end of the rod. This humane 
expedient produces effects not unlike neu- 
ralgia, it may be supposed, for the fish is off 
in a new fury. But rush after rush grows 
tamer, till he is drawn within reach of the 
gaff, and so on to the grassy bed, where a tap 
on the head ends his sorrows, and the colours 
on his shining side undulate in delicate and 
beautiful radiance. It may be dreadfully cruel, 
as cruel as nature and human life ; but those 
who eat salmon or butcher's meat cannot 
justly protest, for they, desiring the end, have 
willed the means. As the angler walks home, 
and watches the purple Eildon grow grey in 
the twilight, or sees the hills of Mull deli- 
cately outlined between the faint gold of sky 
and sea, it is not probable that his conscience 
reproaches him very fiercely. He has spent 
a day among the most shy and hidden beau- 
ties of nature, surprising her here and there 



l6 LOST LEADERS. 

in places where, unless he had gone a-fishlng-^ 
he might never have penetrated. He has set 
his skill against the strength and skill of the 
monarch of rivers, and has mastered him 
among the haunts of fairies and beneath the 
ruined towers of feudalism. These are some 
of the delights that to-day end for a season.* 

♦ The author once caught a salmon. It did not behave 
in any way like the ferocious fish in this article. 



( 17 ) 



WINTER SPORTS. 

People to whom cold means misery, who hate 
to be braced, and shudder at the word "season- 
able," can have little difficulty in accounting 
for the origin of the sports of winter. They 
need only adapt to the circumstances that old 
Lydian tradition which says that games of 
chance were invented during a great famine. 
Men permitted themselves to eat only every 
second day, and tried to forget their hunger in 
playing at draughts and dice. That is clearly 
the invention of a southern people, which never 
had occasion to wish it could become oblivious 
of the weather, as too many of us would like 
to be in England. Such shivering and indolent 
folks may be inclined to say that skating and 
curling and wildfowl-shooting, and the other 
diversions which seduce the able-bodied from 
the warm precincts of the cheerful fire, were 
only contrived to enable us to forget the 

c 



x3 LOST LEADERS. 

state of the thermometer. Whether or not 
that was the purpose of the first northerner 
who fixed sheep-bones beneath his feet, to 
course more smoothly over the frozen sound, 
there can be no doubt that winter sports 
answer their presumed purpose. They keep 
up that glow which only exercise in the 
open air can give, and promote the health 
which shows itself in the complexion. It is 
the young lady who interprets literally the 
Scotch invitation " come into the fire," and who 
spoils the backs of library novels by holding 
them too near the comfortable hearth, she it is 
who suffers from the ignoble and unbecoming 
liberties that winter takes with the human 
countenance. Happier and wiser is she who 
studies the always living and popular Dutch 
roll rather than the Grecian bend, and who 
blooms with continual health and good 
temper. Our changeful climate afibrds so 
few opportunities of learning to skate, that it 
is really extraordinary to find so much skill, 
and to see feats so difficult and graceful. In 
Canada, where frost is a certainty, and where 
the covered " rinks " make skating an indoor 
sport, it is not odd that great perfection should 
be attained. But as fast as Canadians bring 



WINTER SPORTS, 19 

over a new figure or a new trick it is picked 
up, and critics may dispute as to whether the 
bold and dashing style of the English school 
of skaters is not preferable to the careful and 
smooth, but somewhat pretty and niggling 
manner of the colonists. Our skating stands 
to the Canadian fashion somewhat as French 
does to English etching. We have the dash 
and the chic with skates which Frenchmen 
show with the etching-needle, and the Cana- 
dian, on the other hand, is apt to decline into 
the mere prettiness which is the fault of 
English etchers. 

Skating has been, within the last few years, 
a very progressive art. There was a time 
when mere speed, and the grace of speed, 
satisfied most amateurs. The ideal spot for 
skating in those days must have been the 
lakes where Wordsworth used to listen to 
the echoes replying from the cold and moon- 
lit hills, or such a frozen river as that on 
which the American skater was pursued by 
wolves. No doubt such scenes have still their 
rare charm, and few expeditions are more 
attractive than a moonlight exploration of 
a winding river. But it is seldom that our 
irosts make such tours practicable, whereas 



20 LOST LEADERS. 

almost every winter it is possible to skate 
with safety, at least on shallow ponds, or on 
places like the ice-bound floods at Oxford. 
Thus figure-skating, which needs but a surface 
of a few yards to each performer, has come 
into fashion, and it is hard to imagine any 
exercise more elegant, or one that requires 
more nerve. The novice is theoretically 
aware that if he throws his body into certain 
unfamiliar postures, which are explained to 
him, the laws of gravitation and of the higher 
curves will cause him to complete a certain 
figure. But how much courage and faith it 
requires to yield to these laws and let the 
frame swing round subject to the immutable 
rules of matter! The temptation to stop 
half-way is almost irresistible, and then there 
occurs a complicated fall, which makes the 
petrified spectator ask where may be the 
skater's body — "which are legs, and which are 
arms ? " Of all sports, skating has the best 
claim to adopt Danton's motto, Toujoiirs de 
Vaudace — the audacity meant being that of 
giving one's self up to the laws of motion, and 
not the vulgar quality which carries its owner 
on to dangerous ice. Something may now 
be learned of figure-skating on dry land, and 



WINTER SPORTS. 21 

the adventure may be renewed of the mythical 
children who went sliding all on a summer 
day. In this respect, skating has a great 
advantage over its rival, the " roaring game " 
of curling. It would be poor fun to curl on 
asphalte, with stones fixed on wheels, though 
the amusement is possible, and we recom- 
mend the idea, which is not copyright, to 
enthusiastic curlers ; and curlers are almost 
always enthusiastic. It is pleasant to think 
how the hills must be ringing with their shouts, 
round many a lonely tarn, where the men of 
one parish meet those of the next in friendly 
conflict north of the Tweed. The exhilarating 
yell of " soop her up," whereby the curler who 
wields a broom is abjured to :sweep away the 
snow in front of the advancing stone, will many 
a time be heard this winter. There is some- 
thing peculiarly healthy about this sport — 
in the ring with which the heavy stones clash 
against each other ; in the voices of the burly 
plaided men, shepherd, and farmer, and laird ; 
in the rough banquet of beef and greens and 
the copious toddy which close the day's exer- 
tions. 

Frost brings with it an enforced close-season 
for most of furred and feathered kind* The 



22 LOST LEADERS. 

fox is safe enough, and, if sportsmen are right, 
must be rather wearying for open weather, and 
for the return of his favourite exercise with 
hounds. But even when the snow hangs out 
her white flag of truce and goodwill between 
man and beast, the British sportsman is still the 
British sportsman, and is not averse to "going 
out and killing something. To such a one, 
wild-fowl shooting is a possibility, though, as 
good Colonel Hawker says, some people com- 
plain forsooth that it interferes with ease and 
comfort. We should rather incline to think 
it does. A black frost with no moon is not 
precisely the kind of weather that a degene- 
rate sportsman would choose for lying in the 
frozen mud behind a bush, or pushing a small 
punt set on large skates across the ice to get 
at birds. Few attitudes can be more cramp- 
ing than that of the gunner who skulks on 
one knee behind his canoe, pushing it with 
one hand, and dragging himself along by the 
aid of the other. Then, it is disagreeable to 
have to use a gun so heavy that the stock is 
fitted with a horsehair pillow, or even with a 
small bolster. The whistle of widgeon and 
the shrill-sounding pinions of wild geese may 
be attractive noises, and no doubt all shooting 



WINTER SPORTS. ^^ 

IS exciting; and a form of shooting which 
stakes all on one shot must offer some thrilling 
moments of expectation. The quarry has to 
be measured by number, not by size, and fifty 
widgeon at one discharge, or a brace of wild 
swans may almost serve to set against a stag 
of ten.* The lover of nature has glimpses 
in wild-fowl shooting such as she gives no 
other man— the glittering expanse of waters 
the birds " all in a charm," all uttering their cry 
together, the musical moan of the tide, and 
the "long glories of the winter moon." But 
success is too difficult, equipment too costly, 
and rheumatism too certain for wild-fowl 
shooting to be reckoned among popular 
winter sports. 

* Mr. Wordsworth, in his poem of " The Recluse," ex- 
presses a horror of this diversion. 



24 LOST LEADERS, 



HUMAN LEVITATION, 

Why is it that living fish add nothing to 
the " weight of the bucket of water in which 
they swim ? " Charles II. is said to have 
asked the Royal Society. A still more 
extraordinary question has been propounded 
in the grave pages of the Quarterly Journal 
of Science^ edited by Mr. Crookes, a Fellow 
of the Royal Society, and the discoverer 
of the useful metal thallium. The problem 
set in this learned review does not, like that 
of the Merry Monarch, beg the question of 
facts. " What is the scientific inference from 
the various accounts, modern and traditional, 
of human levitation ? " is the difficulty before 
the world at this present moment. Now, 
there may be people who never heard of 
levitation, nor even of " thaums," a term that 
frequently occurs in the article we refer to. 
A slight acquaintance with the dead languages, 



HUMAN LEVITATION, 25 

whose shadows reappear in this queer fashion, 
enables the inquirer to decide that "levita- 
tion" means the power of becoming lighter 
than the surrounding atmosphere, and setting 
at nought the laws of gravitation. 

Thaums, again, are wonders, and there is no 
very obvious reason why they should not be 
called wonders. But to return to levitation. 
Most of us have heard how Mr. Home and 
other gifted people possess the faculty of being 
raised from the ground, and of floating about 
the room, or even out of the window. There 
are clouds of witnesses who have observed 
these phenomena, which generally occur in the 
dark. In fact, they are part of that vague 
subject called spiritualism, about which 
opinion is so much divided, and views are so 
vague. It has been said that the human race, 
in regard to this high argument, is divided 
into five classes. There are people who 
believe ; people who investigate ; people who 
think the matter really ought to be looked 
into ; people who dislike the topic, but who 
would believe in the phenomena if they were 
proved ; and people of common sense, who 
would not believe in them if they were proved. 
Now, the article in the Journal of Science 



26 LOST LEADERS. 

only deals with one of the phenomena we 
hear so' much of — that of the sudden suspen- 
sion of the laws of gravitation, in the case of 
individual men. The author has collected a 
vast variety of traditions bearing on this 
subject, and his conclusion apparently is, that 
events of this kind, though rather rare, are 
natural, are peculiar to people of certain 
temperament and organization, and, above 
all, bring no proof as to the truth of the 
doctrines asserted by the persons who exhibit 
the phenomena. Now, men of science, as 
a rule, and the world at large, look on stories 
of this sort as myths, romances, false inter- 
pretations of subjective feelings, pious frauds, 
and absurd nonsense. Before expressing an 
opinion, it may be well to look over the facts, 
as they are called, which are brought under 
our notice. 

What accounts, then, are there of levitation 
among the civilized people of the Old World ? 
First, there is Abaris, the Scythian, " in the 
time of Pythagoras," says our author. Well^ 
as a matter of evidence, Abaris may have 
been levitated in the eighth century before 
Christ, or it may have been two hundred and 
fifty years later. Perhaps he was a Druid of 



HUMAN LEVITATION. 27 

the Hebrides. Toland thought so, and Toland 
had as good a chance of knowing as any one 
else. Our earliest authority, Herodotus, says 
he took no earthly food, and ** went with his 
arrow all round the world without once 
eating." It seems that he rode on this arrow, 
which, Mr. Rawlinson thinks, may possibly 
have been an early tradition of the magnet. 
All our detailed information about him is of 
later date than the Christian era. The fact 
remains that tradition says he was able to fly 
in the air. Pythagoras is said to have had 
the same power, or rather the same faculty 
came upon him. He was lifted up, with na 
will or conscious exertion of his own. Now, 
our evidence as to the power of Pythagoras 
to be " like a bird, in two places at once," is 
exactly as valuable as that about Abaris. 
It rests on the tradition repeated by super- 
stitious philosophers who lived eight hundred 
years after his death. *' To Pythagoras, there- 
fore," as Herodotus has it, " we now say fare- 
well," with no further knowledge than that 
vague tradition says he was " levitated." The 
writer now leaves classical antiquity behind 
him — he does not repeat a saying of Plotinus, 
the mystic of Alexandria, who lived in the 



28 LOST LEADERS. 

third century of our era. The best known 
anecdote of him is that his disciples asked 
him if he were not sometimes levitated, and 
he laughed, and said, " No ; but he was no fool 
who persuaded you of this." Instead of 
Plotinus, we are referred to a mass of Jewish 
and anti-Christian apocryphal traditions, which 
have the same common point — the assertion 
of the existence of the phenomenon of 
levitation. Apollonius of Tyana is also said 
to have been a highly accomplished medium. 
We are next presented with a list of forty 
" levitated " persons, canonized or beatified by 
the Church of Rome. Their dates range from 
the ninth to the seventeenth century, and their 
histories go to prove that levitation runs in 
families. Perhaps the best known of the collec- 
tion is St. Theresa (15 15-1582), and it is only 
fair to say that the stories about St. Theresa 
are very like those repeated about our lady 
mediums. One of these, Mrs. Guppy, as every 
one knows, can scatter flowers all over a room, 
"flowers of Paradise," unknown to botanists. 
Fauna, rather than flora, was St. Theresa's 
province, and she kept a charming pet, a little 
white animal of no recognized species. Still, 
about her, and about her friend SL John of 



HUMAN LE VITA TIOK 29 

the Cross, the legend runs that they used to 
be raised off the ground, chairs and all, and 
float about in the most soothing way. Poor 
Peter of Alcantara was levitated in a less 
pleasant manner ; " he uttered a frightful cry, 
and shot through the air as if he had been 
fired from a gun." Peter had a new form 
of epilepsy — the rising, not the falling, sick- 
ness. Joseph Copertino, again, floated about; 
to such good effect, that in 1650 Prince 
John of Brunswick foreswore the Protestant 
faith. The logical process which converted 
this prince is not a very obvious one. 

Why do we quote all these old monkish 
and neoplatonic legends .'* For some the 
evidence is obviously nil ; to other anecdotes 
many witnesses bear testimony ; but then, we 
know that an infectious schwdrmerei can per- 
suade people that the lion now removed from 
Northumberland House wagged his tail. The 
fact is that there is really matter for science 
in all these anecdotes, and the question to be 
asked is this — How does it happen that in 
ages and societies so distant and so various 
identical stories are current.'* What is the 
pressure that makes neoplatonic gossips of 
the fourth century circulate the same marvels 
as spiritualist gossips of the nineteenth ? 



30 LOST LEADERS, 

How does it happen that the mediaeval 
saint, the Indian medicine-man, the Siberian 
shaman (a suggestive term), have nearly 
identical wonders attributed to them ? If 
people wanted merely to tell *' a good square 
lie," as the American slang has it, invention 
does not seem to have such pitifully narrow 
boundaries. It appears to follow that there 
are contagious nervous illusions, about which 
science has not said the last word. We 
believe that the life of children, with its in- 
nocent mixture of dreams and waking, facts 
and fancies, could supply odd parallels to the 
stories we have been treated to. And as we 
are on the subject, we should like, as the late 
President Lincoln said, to tell a little story. 
It occurred to a learned divine to meet a 
pupil, who ought by rights to have been in 
the University of Oxford, walking in Regent 
Street. The youth glided past like a ghost, 
and was lost in the crowd ; next day his 
puzzled preceptor received a note, dated on 
the previous day from Oxford, telling how 
the pupil had met the teacher by the Isis, 
and on inquiry had heard he was in London. 
Here is a case of levitation — of double levita- 
tion, and we leave it to be explained by the 
followers of Abaris and of Mr. Home. 



J 



A CHINAMAN'S MARRIAGE. 

The Court of Assizes at Paris has lately been 
occupied with the case of a Chinese gentle- 
man, whose personal charms and literary 
powers make him worthy to be the com- 
patriot of Ah-Sin, that astute Celestial. Tin- 
tun-ling is the name — we wish we could say, 
with Thackeray's F. B., " the highly respect- 
able name" — of the Chinese who has just 
been acquitted on a charge of bigamy. In 
China, it is said that the more distinguished 
a man is the shorter is his title, and the name 
of a very victorious general is a mere click or 
gasp. On this principle, the trisyllabic Tin- 
tun-ling must have been without much honour 
in his own country. In Paris, however, he 
has learned Parisian aplomb, and when con- 
fronted with his judges and his accusers, his 
air, we learn, "was very calm." " His smile 
it was pensive and bland," like the Heathen 



32 LOST LEADERS. 

Chinee's, and his calm confidence was justified 
by events. It remains to tell the short, 
though not very simple, tale of Tin-tun-ling. 
Mr. Ling was born in 183 1, in the province of 
Chan-li. At the interesting age of eighteen, 
an age at which the intellect awakens and 
old prejudices lose their grasp, he ceased to 
burn gilt paper on the tombs of his ancestors ; 
he ceased to revere their august spirits ; he 
gave up the use of the planchette, rejected the 
teachings of Confucius, and, in short, became 
a convert to Christianity. This might be 
considered either as a gratifying testimony 
to the persuasive powers of Catholic mission- 
aries, or as an example of the wiles of Jesuit- 
ism, if we did not know the inner history 
of Mr. Ling's soul, the abysmal depths of 
his personality. He has not, like many other 
modern converts, written a little book, such 
as " How I ceased to chinchin Joss ; or, from 
Confucius to Christianity," but he has told 
Madame Judith Mend^s all about it. Madame 
Mendes has made a name in literature, and 
English readers may have wondered how the 
daughter of the poet Theophile Gautier cam.e 
to acquire the knowledge of Chinese which 
she has shown in her translations from that 



A CHINAMAN'S MARRIAGE. 33 

language. It now appears that she was the 
pupil of Tin-tun-ling, who, in a moment of 
expansion, confided to her that he adopted 
the Catholic faith that he might eat a morsel 
of bread. He was starving, it seems ; he had 
eaten nothing for eight days, when he threw 
himself on the charity of the missionaries, and 
received baptism. Since Winckelmann turned 
renegade, and became a Roman Catholic 
merely that the expenses of his tour to Rome 
and his maintenance there might be paid, 
there have surely been few more mercenary 
converts. Tin-tun-ling was not satisfied with 
being christened into the Church, he was also 
married in Catholic rites, and here his mis- 
fortunes fairly began, and he entered on the 
path which has led him into difficulty and 
discredit. 

The French, as a nation, are not remarkable 
for their accuracy in the use of foreign proper 
names, and we have a difficulty in believing 
that the name of Mr. Ling's first wife was 
really Quzia-Tom-Alacer. There is a touch 
of M. Hugo's famous Tom Jim Jack, the 
British tar, about this designation. Never- 
theless, the facts are that Tin-tun-ling was 
wedded to Quzia, and had four children by 

D 



34 LOST LEADERS. 

her. After years of domestic life, on which 
he is said to look back but rarely and with 
reluctance, he got a position as secretary and 
shoeblack and tutor in Chinese to a M. 
Gallery, and left the province of Chin-li for 
Paris. For three months this devoted man 
sent Quzia-Tom-Alacer small sums of money, 
and after that his kindness became, as Douglas 
Jerrold said, unremitting. Quzia heard of her 
lord no more till she learned that he had for- 
gotten his marriage vow, and was, in fact. 
Another's. As to how Tin-tun-ling contracted 
a matrimonial alliance in France, the evidence 
is a little confusing. It seems certain that 
after the death of his first employer. Gallery, 
he was in destitution ; that M. Theophile 
Gautier, with his well-known kindness and 
love of curiosities, took him up, and got him 
lessons in Ghinese, and it seems equally certain 
that in February, 1872, he married a certain 
Caroline Julie Liegeois. In the act of mar- 
riage, Tin-tun-ling described himself as a 
baron, which we know that he was not, 
for in his country he did not rejoice in 
buttons and other insignia of Ghinese no- 
bility. As Caroline Julie Ling {iiee Liegeois) 
denounced her lord for bigamy in 1873, and 



A CHINAMAN'S MARRIAGE, 35 

succeeded, as has been seen, in proving that 
he was husband of Quzia-Tom-Alacer, it 
may seem likely that she found out the spu- 
rious honours of the pretended title. But 
whatever may be thought of the deceitful 
conduct of Ling, there is little doubt appar- 
ently that Caroline is really his. He stated 
in court that by Chinese law a husband who 
has not heard of his wife for three years may 
consider that his marriage has legally ceased 
to be binding. Madame Mendes proved from 
the volume Ta-Tsilg-Leu-Lee, the penal code 
of China, that Ling's law was correct. It 
also came out in court that Quzia-Tom-Alacer 
had large feet. The jury, on hearing this 
evidence, very naturally acquitted Tin-tun- 
ling, whom Madame Mendes embraced, it is 
said, with the natural fervour of a preserver 
of innocence. Whether Tin-tun-ling is now 
a bachelor, or whether he is irrevocably bound 
to Caroline Julie, is a question that seems to 
have occurred to no one. 

The most mysterious point in this dark 
business is the question, How did Tin-tun-ling, 
who always spoke of his first marriage with 
terror, happen to involve himself in the 
difficulties of a second ? Something more 



36 LOST LEADERS. 

than the common weakness of human nature 
must have been at work here. Madame 
Mendes says, like a traitor to her sex, that 
Tin espoused Caroline Julie from feelings 
of compassion. He yielded, according to 
Madame Mendes, "to the entreaties of this 
woman." The story of M. Gustave Lafargue 
confirms this ungallant tale. According to 
M. Lafargue, Tin's bride was a governess, 
and an English governess, or at least one 
who taught English. She proposed to marry 
Tin, who first resisted, and then hesitated. 
In a matter of this kind, the man who hesi- 
tates is lost. The English governess flattered 
Tin's literary as well as his personal vanity. 
She proposed to translate the novels which 
Tin composes in his native tongue, and which 
he might expect to prove as popular in France 
as some other fictions of his fatherland have 
done in times past. So they were married. 
Tim, though on pleasure bent, had a frugal 
mind, and after a wedding-breakfast, which 
lasted all day, he went to a theatre to ask for 
two free passes. When he came back his 
bride was gone. He sought her with all 
the ardour of the bridegroom in the ballad 
of "The Mistletoe Bough," and with more 



A CHINAMAN'S MARRIAGE. 37 

success. Madame Ling was reading a novel 
at home. Mr.- Carlyle has quoted Tobias 
Smollett as to the undesirability of giving the 
historical muse that latitude which is not un- 
common in France ; and we prefer to leave 
the tale of Ling's where Mr. Carlyle left that 
of Brynhild's wedding.* 

* It is a melancholy fact that the Author has quite forgotten 
what did happen ! Thus a narrative, probably diverting, is 
for ever lost, thanks to the modesty of our free Press. 



3l& LOST LEADERS. 



SI EUR DE MONTAIGNE. 

The French National Library has recently 
as it is said, made an acquisition of great 
value and interest. The books, and better 
still the notes, of Montaigne, the essayist, 
have been bought up at the not very] ex- 
orbitant price of thirty-six thousand francs. 
The volumes are the beautiful editions of the 
sixteenth century — the age of great scholars 
and of printers, like the Estiennes, who were 
at once men of learning and of taste. It is 
almost certain that they must be enriched 
with marginal notes of Montaigne's, and the 
marginal notes of a great man add even 
more to the value of a book than the scrib- 
blings of circulating library readers detract 
from its beauty. There is always something 
characteristic in a man's treatment of his 
books. Coleridge's marginalia on borrowed 
works, according to Lamb, were an ornament 



i 



SIEUR DE MONTAIGNE. 39 

of value to his friends, if they were lucky 
enough to get the books back again. Poe's 
marginalia were of exquisite neatness, though 
in their printed form they were not very 
interesting. Thackeray's seem mostly to have 
taken the shape of slight sketches in illus- 
tration of the matter. Scaliger's notes con- 
verted a classic into a new and precious 
edition of one example. Casaubon's, on the 
other hand, were mere scratches and mne- 
monic lines and blurs, with which he marked 
his passage through a book, as roughly as 
the American woodsman "blazes'* his way 
through a forest. "None could read the 
comment save himself," and the text was 
disfigured. We may be sure that Mon- 
taigne's marginalia are of a very different 
value. As he walked up and down in his 
orchard, or in his library, beneath the rafters 
engraved with epicurean maxims, he jotted 
his thoughts hastily on the volume in his 
hand — on the Pliny, or Suetonius, or Livy. 
His library was probably not a large one, 
for he had but a few favourite authors, the 
Latin historians, moralists, and anecdotists, 
and for mere amusement Terence and Catul- 
lus, Boccaccio and Rabelais. His thoughts 



40 LOST LEADERS. 

fell asleep, he says, if he was not walking 
about, and his utter want of memory made 
notes and note-books necessary to him. He 
who could not remember the names of the 
most ordinary tools used in agriculture, nor 
the difference between oats and barley, could 
never keep in his head his enormous stock 
of classical anecdotes and modern instances. 
His thoughts got innocently confused with 
his recollections, and his note-books will 
probably show whence he drew many of his 
stories, and the quotations that remain un- 
traced. They will add also to our knowledge 
of the man and of his character, though it 
might seem difficult to give additional traits 
in the portrait of himself which he has 
painted with so many minute touches. 

With the exception of Dr. Johnson, there 
is scarcely any great man of letters whom 
we are enabled to know so intimately as the 
Sieur de Montaigne. He has told us all 
about himself; all about his age, as far as it 
came under his eager and observant eyes ; 
all about the whole world, as far as it made 
part of his experience. Rousseau is not 
more frank, and not half so worthy of credit, 
for Rousseau, like Topsy in the novel, had 



SIEUR DE MONTAIGNE. 41 

a taste for " 'fessing " offences that he had 
never committed rather than not " 'fess " at 
all. Montaigne strikes no such attitudes ; he 
does not pose, he does not so much confess 
as blab. His life stands before the reader 
" as in a picture." We learn that his child- 
hood was a happier one than usually fell to 
the lot of children in that age when there 
was but little honey smeared on the cup of 
learning. We know that his father taught 
him Greek in a kind of sport or game, that 
the same parent's relations with the fair sex 
were remarkable, and that he had extra- 
ordinary strength in his thumb. For his own 
part, Montaigne was so fresh and full of life 
that Simon Thomas, a great physician, said 
it would make a decrepit old man healthy 
again to live in his company. One thinks 
of him as a youth like the irrepressible Swiss 
who amused the emiui of Gray. 

Even in his old age, Montaigne was a 
gay, cheerful, untiring traveller, always eager 
to be going on, delighted with every place 
he visited, and yet anxious for constant change 
of scene and for new experience. To be 
amusingly and simply selfish is ever part of 
the charm of Montaigne. He adds to his 



42 LOST LEADERS. 

reader's pleasure in life by the keenness with 
which he relished his own existence, and 
savoured every little incident as a man relishes 
the bouquet of wine. Without selfishness, 
how can this be managed ? and without per- 
fect simplicity and the good faith on which 
he prided himself, how could Montaigne, how 
could Pepys, have enriched the world as they 
have done ? His essays are among the few 
works that really and literally make life 
more opulent with accumulated experience, 
criticism, reflection, humour. He gives of his 
rich nature, his lavish exuberance of character, 
out of that fresh and puissant century to this 
rather weary one, just as his society in youth 
might have been given to the sick old man. 

Besides what he has to give in this manner, 
Montaigne seems to express French character, 
to explain the French genius and the French 
way of looking at life, more clearly and com- 
pletely than any other writer. He has at 
bottom the intense melancholy, the looking 
forward to the end of all, which is the ground- 
note of the poetry of Villon, and of Ronsard^ 
as of the prose of Chateaubriand. The 
panelled library in Montaigne's chateau was 
carven with mottoes, which were to be charms 



SI EUR DE MONTAIGNE. 43 

against too great fear of death. " For my 
part," he says, " if a man could by any means 
avoid death, were it by hanging a calf-skin 
on his limbs, I am one that would not be 
ashamed of the shift." Happy it is, he thinks, 
that we do not, as a rule, meet death on a 
sudden, any more than we encounter the 
death of youth in one day. But this is only 
the dark background of the enjoyment of life, 
to which Montaigne clings, as he says, " even 
too eagerly." Merely to live, merely to muse 
over this spectacle of the world, simply to 
feel, even if the thing felt be agony, and to 
reflect on the pain, and on how it may best 
be borne — this is enough for Montaigne. This 
is his philosophy, reconciHng in a way the 
maxims of the schools that divided the older 
worlds, the theories of the Stoic and wiser 
Epicurean. To make each moment yield all 
that it has of experience, and of reflection on 
that experience, is his system of existence. 
Acting on this idea, all contrasts of great and 
petty, mean and divine, in human nature do 
not sadden, but delight him. It was part of 
the play to see the division between the King 
of Navarre (Henri IV.) and the Duke of 
Guise. He told Thuanus that he knew the 



44 LOST LEADERS. 

most secret thoughts of both these princes 
and that he was persuaded that neither of 
them was of the reh'gion he professed. This 
scandal gave him no concern, compared with 
his fear that his own castle would suffer in wars 
of the League. As to the Reformation, he 
held it for a hasty, conceited movement on the 
part of persons who did not know what they 
were meddling with, and, being a perfect 
sceptic, he was a perfectly good Churchman. 
Full of tolerance, good-humour, and content, 
cheerful in every circumstance, simple and 
charming, yet melancholy in his hour, Mon- 
taigne is a thorough representative of the 
French spirit in literature. His English trans- 
lator in 1776 declares that "he meets with 
a much more favourable entertainment in 
England than in his native countrj-'-, a servile 
nation that has lost all sense of liberty." Like 
many other notions current in 1776, this 
theory of Montaigne's popularity at home 
and abroad has lost its truth. Perhaps it 
would be more true to say that Montaigne is 
one of the last authors whom modern taste 
learns to appreciate. He is a man's author, 
not a woman's ; a tired man's, not a fresh 
man's. We all come to him, late indeed, but 
at last, and rest in his panelled library. 



( 45 ) 



THACKERAY'S DRAWINGS. 

The advertisements of publishers make a 
very pleasant sort of reading. They offer, as 
it were, a distant prospect of the great works 
of the future, looming in a golden haze of 
expectation. A gentleman or lady may ac- 
quire a reputation for wide research by merely 
making a careful study of the short paragraphs 
in the literary papers. 

There are three classes of people who take 
an interest in letters. There are the persons 
who read books ; the much larger class which 
reads reviews ; and, again, they who merely 
skim over the advertisements of new works. 
The last set live in a constant enjoyment 
of the pleasure of expectation ; they pretend 
to themselves that some day they will find 
time to peruse the volumes in the birth of 
which they are interested, but, in fact, they 
live in the future. They are a month ahead 



46 LOST LEADERS. 

of their friends who read reviews, and six 
months of the students who actually devour 
books themselves. Not only these eager 
lovers of literary "shop," but all friends of 
English humour, must be glad to see that a 
collection of Mr. Thackeray's sketches and 
drawings has been prepared for publication. 

When the news spread over England of 
Mr. Thackeray's sudden death, it was felt 
that a personal loss had been sustained by 
every one who cared for books and for style. 
Other men might write themselves out, their 
invention might become weary ; and, indeed, 
Mr. Thackeray himself felt this fatigue. He 
wished he could get some one to do "the 
business " of his stories he told the world in 
a "Roundabout Paper." The love-making 
parts of " the business " annoyed him, and 
made him blush, in the privacy of his study, 
" as if he were going into an apoplexy." Some 
signs of this distaste for the work of the 
novelist were obvious, perhaps, in "Philip," 
though they did not mar the exquisite tender- 
ness and charm of " Denis Duval." However 
that might be, his inimitable style was as 
fresh as ever, with its passages of melancholy, 
its ease, its flexible strength, and unlooked- 



THACKERAY'S DRAWINGS. 47 

for cadences. It was the talk about life, and 
the tone of that talk, which fell silent when 
Thackeray died, that we all felt as an irreme- 
diable loss. There is an old story that Pindar 
had never in his lifetime written an ode in 
praise of Persephone, the goddess of death and 
the dead, and that after he had departed from 
among living men, his shade communicated 
to the priests a new^hymn on the Queen of 
Hades. The works of great writers pub- 
lished after their decease have somewhat of 
the charm of this fabled hymn ; they are 
voices, familiar and unlocked for, out of the 
silence. They are even stranger, when they 
have such a slight and homelike interest as 
the trifles that fell unheeded from the pen or 
pencil of one who has done great things in 
poetry or art. Mr. Thackeray's sketches in 
the " Orphan of Pimlico " are of this quality 
— caricatures thrown off to amuse children 
who are now grown men and women. They 
have the mark of the old unmistakable style, 
humorous and sad, and, as last remains, they 
are to be welcomed and treasured. 

Mr. Thackeray's skill with the pencil bore 
very curious relations to his mastery of the 
other art, in which lay his strength, but to 



48 LOST LEADERS, 

which perhaps he never gave his love. Every- 
one has heard how, when a young man, he 
was anxious to illustrate " Pickwick," which 
found more fitting artists in Seymour and 
H. K. Browne. Mr. Thackeray seems to 
have been well aware of the limitations of his 
own power as a draughtsman. In one of his 
" Roundabout Papers " he described the 
method — the secret so to say — of Rubens ; 
and then goes on to lament the impotence of 
his own hand, the " pitiful niggling," that 
cannot reproduce the bold sweep of Ruben's 
brush. 

Thackeray was like Theophile Gautier, 
who began life as a painter, and who has left 
to posterity a wonderful etching of his own 
portrait, pale, romantic, with long sweeping 
moustache, and hair falling over his shoulders. 
Both writers found their knowledge of the 
technique of painting useful in making their 
appreciation of art and nature more keen and 
versatile. But Mr. Thackeray's powers had 
another field — he really did succeed in illus- 
trating some of his own writings. Accom- 
plished his style never was. There was a 
trace of the old school of caricature in the 
large noses and thin legs which he gave his 



THACKERAY'S DRAWINGS. 49 

figures. Nor was his drawing very correct ; 
the thin legs of the heroes of " The Virginians '* 
are often strangely contorted. He has even 
placed a thumb on the wrong side of a hand ! 
For all that, he gave to many of his own 
characters a visible embodiment, which another 
artist would have missed. Mr. Frederick 
Walker,for instance, drew Philip Firmin admir- 
ably- — a large, rough man, with a serious and 
rather worn face, and a huge blonde beard. 
Mr. Walker's Philip has probably become the 
Philip of many readers, but he was not Mr. 
Thackeray's. It is delightful to be sure, on 
the other hand, that we have the author's 
own Captain Costigan before us, in his habit 
as he lived — the unshaven chin, the battered 
hat, the high stock, the blue cloak, the 
whiskeyfied stare, and the swagger. Mr. 
Thackeray did not do his young men well. 
Arthur Pendennis is only himself as he sits 
with Warrington over a morning paper; in his 
white hat and black band at the Derby, he has 
not the air of a gentleman. Harry Foker is 
either a coarse exaggeration, or the modern 
types of Fokers have improved in demeanour 
on the great prototype. But Costigan is 
always perfect ; and the nose and wig of 

E 



so LOST LEADERS, 

Major Pendennis are ideally correct. In his 
drawings of women, Mr. Thackeray very 
much confined himself to two types. There 
was the dark-eyed, brown-haired, bright-com- 
plexioned girl who was his favourite — Laura, 
Betsinda, Amelia ; and the blonde, ringletted, 
clever, and false girl — Becky, Blanche, 
Angelica, who was the favourite of the 
reader. He did not always succeed in 
making them pretty, though there is a 
beautiful head of Amelia, in a court dance 
at Pumpernickel ; but he always made the 
dark young lady look honest, and the fair 
young minx look a thing all soul and 
enthusiasm. 

It was a note of Mr. Thackeray's art, and 
probably one among other proofs that the 
higher fields of art were closed to him, that 
his success by no means corresponded to the 
amount of pains he took with his work. His 
drawings which appeared as steel engravings, 
were not unfrequently weak, while his sketches 
on the wood and his lithographs were much 
more free and masterly. There is, indeed, a 
sketch on the steel of poor Pen tossing fever- 
ishly in his mother's comforting arms, which 
is full of passion and life and sentiment. But 



THACKERATS DRAWINGS, 51 

it was rare that success attended his ambition, 
and, indeed, another drawing of Pen and his 
mother admiring a sunset might have come 
out of a book of fashions of that remote period. 
It was in his initial letters and slight designs 
that Thackeray showed his best powers. There 
is much wistful tenderness in the little Mar- 
quise's face as she trips down a rope-ladder 
in an initial letter of Vanity Fair. The 
bewigged shepherds and powdered shepherd- 
esses of his favourite period are always repro- 
duced with grace, and the children of his 
drawings are almost invariably charming. In 
the darker moods, when "man delighted him 
not, nor woman either," children did not fail 
to please him, and he sketched them in a 
hundred pathetic attitudes. There are the 
little brother and sister of the doomed House 
of Gaunt, sitting under the ancestral sword 
that seems ready to fall. There is little 
Rawdon Crawley, manly and stout, in his 
great coat, watching the thin little cousin 
Pitt, whom he was " too big a dog to play 
with." There is the printer's devil, asleep 
at Pen's door ; and the small boy in " Dr. 
Birch," singing in his nightgown to the big 
boy in bed. There is Betsinda dancing with 



52 LOST LEADERS. 

her plum-bun in "The Rose and the Ring.*'' 
The burlesque drawings of that delightful 
child's book are not its least attraction. Not 
arriving at the prettiness of Mr. Tenniel, and 
the elegance of Mr. Du Maurier, and falling 
far short of their ingenious fantasy, they are 
yet manly delineations of great adventures. 
The count kicking the two black men into 
space is a powerful design, full of action ; and 
it would be hard to beat the picture of the 
fate of Gruffanuf's husband. These and the 
rest are old friends, and there are hosts of 
quaint scribblings, signed with the mark of a 
pair of spectacles, scattered through the pages 
of Punch, 



C 5: 



GOLR 

While pheasant-shooters are enjoynig the 
first day of the season, the votaries of a sport 
not less noble, though less noisy, are holding 
the great festival of their year. The autumn 
meeting of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club 
of St. Andrews is in full swing, and the words 
will suggest pleasant memories to many a 
golfer. Golf is not one of the more brilliant and 
famous pastimes of the day, though it yields 
to none in antiquity and in unassuming merit. 
The names of the winners of the gold medal 
and of the silver cross are not telegraphed 
all over the world as widely as Mr. Tenny- 
son's hero wished the news that Maud had 
accepted him to be. The red man may pos- 
sibly " dance beneath his red cedar tree " at 
the tidings of the event of one of our great 
horse-races, or great university matches. At 
all events, even if the red man preserves his 



S4 LOST LEADERS. 

usual stoicism of demeanour, his neighbours, 
the pale-faces, like to know all about the 
result of many English sports the moment 
they are decided. Golf, as we have said, ex- 
cites less general enthusiasm ; but in people who 
love it at all, the love is burning, consuming ; 
they will talk golf-shop in season and out of 
season. Few persons, perhaps, will call golf 
the very first and queen of games. Cricket 
exercises more faculties of body, and even of 
mind, for does not the artful bowler " bowl 
with his head?*' Football demands an extra- 
ordinary personal courage, and implies the 
existence of a fierce delight in battle with 
one's peers. Tennis, with all its merits, is a 
game for the few, so rare are tennis-courts 
and so expensive the pastime. But cricketers, 
football-players, tennis-players, would all give 
golf the second place after their favourite 
exercise ; and just as Themistocles was held 
to be the best Greek general, because each 
of his fellows placed him second, so golf may 
assert a right to be thought the first of games. 
One great advantage it certainly has — it is 
a game for " men " of all ages, from eight, or 
even younger, to eighty. The links of St. 
Andrews are probably cleared just now of the 



GOLF. 55 

little lads and the veterans ; they make room 
for the heroes, the medalists, the great players — 
Mr. Mackay, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Leslie Balfour, 
and the rest. But at ordinary times there are 
always dozens of tiny boys in knickerbockers 
and scarlet stockings, who " drive out " the first 
hole in some twenty strokes of their little 
clubs, and who pass much of their time in 
fishing for their lost balls in the muddy burn. 
As for the veterans " on the threshold of old 
age," it is pleasant to watch their boyish 
eagerness, the swaying of their bodies as they 
watch the short flight of their longest hits ; 
their delight when they do manage to hit 
further than the sand-pit, or " bunker," which 
is named after the nose of a long-dead prin- 
cipal of the university; their caution, nay, 
their almost tedious delay in the process of 
putting, that is, of hitting the ball over the 
"green" into the neighbouring hole. They 
can still do their round, or their two rounds, 
five or ten miles* walking a day ; and who can 
speak otherwise than well of a game which 
is not too strenuous for healthy age or tender 
childhood, and yet allows an athlete of twenty- 
three to put out all his strength ? 

Golf is a thoroughly national game ; it is as 



56 LOST LEADERS. 

Scotch as haggis, cockie-leekie, high cheek- 
bones, or rowanberry jam. A spurious imi- 
tation, or an arrested development of the 
sport, exists in the south of France, where a 
ball is knocked along the roads to a fixed 
goal. But this is naturally very poor fun 
compared to the genuine game as played on 
the short turf beside the grey northern sea on 
the coast of Fife. Golf has been introduced 
of late years into England, and is played at 
Westward Ho, at Wimbledon, at Blackheath 
(the oldest club), at Liverpool, over Cowley 
Marsh, near Oxford, and in many other places. 
It is, therefore, no longer necessary to say that 
golf is not a highly developed and scientific 
sort of hockey, or bandy-ball. Still, there be 
some to whom the processes of the sport are 
a mystery, and who would be at a loss to 
discriminate a niblick from a bunker-iron. 
The thoroughly equipped golf-player needs 
an immense variety of weapons, or imple- 
ments, which are carried for him by his 
caddie— a youth or old man, who is, as it werct 
' his esquire, who sympathizes with him in 
defeat, rejoices in his success, and aids him 
with such advice as his superior knowledge of 
the ground suggests. The class of human 



GOLF. 57 

beings known as caddies are the offspring 
of golf, and have peculiar traits which dis- 
tinguish them from the professional cricketer, 
the waterman, the keeper, the gillie, and all 
other professionals. It is not very easy to 
account for their little peculiarities. One thing 
is certain — that when golf was introduced 
by Scotchmen into France, and found a 
home at Pau, in the shadow of the Pyrenees, 
the French caddie sprang, so to speak, from 
the ground, the perfect likeness of his Scottish 
brother. He was just as sly, just as impor- 
tunate in his demands to be employed, just 
as fond of "putting at short holes," more 
profane, and every bit as contemptuous of 
all non-golf-playing humanity as the boyish 
Scotch caddie, in whom contempt has reversed 
the usual process, and bred familiarity with 
all beginners. 

The professional cricketer can instruct an 
unskilled amateur, can take his ill-guarded 
wicket, and make him " give chances " all 
over the field, without bursting into yells of 
unseemly laughter. But the little caddie 
cannot restrain his joy when the tyro at golf, 
after missing his ball some six times, ulti- 
mately dashes off the head of his club against 



53 LOST LEADERS. 

the ground. Nor is he less exuberant when 
his patron's ball is deep in a " bunker," or 
sand-pit, where the wretch stands digging at 
it with an iron, hot, helpless, and wrathful. 
And yet golf is a sport not learned in a day, 
and caddies might be more considerate. The 
object of the game is to strike a small gutta- 
percha ball into a hole about five inches wide, 
distant from the striker about three hundred 
yards, and separated from him by rough grass 
and smooth sand-pits, furze bushes, and per- 
haps a road or a brook. He who, of two 
players, gets his ball into the hole in the 
smallest number of strokes is the winner of 
that hole, and the party then play towards 
the next hole. All sorts of skill are needed 
— strength and adroitness, and a certain 
supple " swing " of the body, are wanted to 
send the ball " sure and far " in the *' driving" 
part of the game. Nothing is so pleasant as 
a clean "drive." The sensation is like that 
of hitting a ball to square-leg, fair and full, at 
cricket. Then the golfer must have the 
knack to lift his ball out of deep sand 
with the " iron," and to strike it deftly " a 
half-shot " up to the hole with the " cleek ; " 
and, lastly, coolness and a good eye when he 



GOLF. 5^ 

" putts " or hits his ball actually up to the very 
hole. 

Any degree of skill in these varied feats 
makes golf a delightful game, if the opponents 
are well matched. Nor are the charms of 
scenery wanting at St. Andrews, the head- 
quarters of the sport. There is no more 
picturesque town in Scotland than the little 
university city. From the plain of the 
estuary of the river Eden, across the long 
leagues of marsh land and the stretches of 
golden sand and brown, the towers of St. 
Andrews — for it is a town of many towers — 
are seen breaking the sky-line. Built on a 
windy headland, running out to the grey 
northern sea, it reaches the water with an 
ancient pier of rugged stone. Immediately 
above is the site of a chapel of immemorial 
age, and above that again are the ruins of the 
cathedral — gaunt spires with broken tracery, 
standing where once the burnished roof of 
copper flashed far across the deep. The 
high street winds from the cathedral precinct 
past an old house of Queen Mary Stuart, 
past ruined chapels of St. Leonard's, and 
the university chapel with its lovely spire, 
down to the shores of the bay ; and along the 



60 LOST LEADERS. 

bay run the famous " links," where the royal 
and ancient game has its cradle and home. 
Other links, as Prestwick, or North Berwick, 
may vie with those of St. Andrews in 
extent, or in the smoothness of the putting 
greens, or in the number and hardness of 
the " hazards," or difficult places ; but none 
offer so wide and varied an extent of scenery, 
from the melancholy stretch of the parallel 
sands to the hills in the west, the golden 
glitter of the beach, beneath the faint aerial 
blue of the still more distant hills across the 
firth, while behind is the city set on its cliffs, 
and proud with its crown of spires. The 
reflected sunset lingers on the walls and 
crags and towers, that shine imaged in the 
wet sands, the after-glow hangs over the 
eastern sky, and these have their charm ; 
but their charm yields to that of golf. It is a 
sign that a man has lost heart and hope 
when he dilates on the beauty of the scenery, 
and abstracts his attention from what alone 
would interest him were he winning — the "lie " 
of his ball. Who can stop to think of the 
beauties of nature, when he and his antagonist 
are equal, and there are only two more holes 
left to play in the match for the medal ? It 



GOLF. 6 1 

is a serious moment ; not one of the little 
crowd of observers, the gallery that accom- 
pany the players, dares to speak, or even 
cough. The caddie who sneezes is lost, for 
he will be accused of distracting his master's 
attention. The ladies begin to appear in the 
background, ready to greet the players, and ta 
tell the truth, are not very welcome to the 
nervous golfer. Everything turns on half an 
inch of leather in a " drive," or a stiff blade of 
grass in a putt, and the interest is wound up 
to a really breathless pitch. Happy he is 
who does not in his excitement " top " his 
ball into the neighbouring brook, or " heel " it 
and send it devious down to the depths of 
ocean. Happy is he who can "hole out the 
last hole in four " beneath the eyes of the 
ladies. Striding victorious into the hospit- 
able club, where beer awaits him, he need not 
envy the pheasant-slayer who has slain his 
hundreds. 



62 LOST LEADERS. 



ART OF DINING. 

There is such a thing as nationality in 
dining, just as Mr. Browning has proved, in 
a brilliant poem, that there is nationality in 
drinks. Surveying mankind with extensive 
view, the essayist recognizes that the science 
is not absolutely ignored in Turkey, where we 
cannot but think that an archaic school re- 
tains too much wool with the mutton, and that 
dining (like Egyptian Art) is rather a matter 
of sacred and immemorial rules than in any 
worthy sense of the word a science. The 
Chinese and Japanese have long been famous 
for their birds'-nest soup, and for making the 
best, after his lamented decease, of the friend 
of man — the dog. About the Australians and 
New Zealanders, perhaps the less said the 
better. Many students will feel that our 
own colonists have neglected to set a proper 
example to these poor heathen races, who. 



ART OF DINING. 63 

save kangaroos, have no larger game than 
rats. The Englishman in Australia revels 
in boundless mutton, in damper, in tea, and 
in the vintages of his adopted soil, which 
he playfully, and patriotically, compares to 
those of the Rhine. It is impossible, on 
the other hand, not to recognize the merits 
of the Russian aiisine^ where the imported 
civilization of France has found various good 
traditional ideas still retained by the Sclavonic 
people ; and where the caviare, " with that 
pale green hue which denotes the absence of 
salt," is not to be overlooked. In melancholy 
contrast to the native genius of the Sclavs is 
the absolute dearth of taste and sense in 
gastronomic Germany. If a map of the world 
could be made — and why not t — in which 
lands of utter darkness in culinary matters 
should be coloured black (like heathen 
countries in the missionary atlas, and coal- 
fields in the map of physical geography), 
the German Empire would be one vast blot 
on Central Europe. Science might track 
Teutonic blood by the absence of respectable 
cookery ; and in England too obvious tokens 
would be found of that incapacity of the art 
of dining which we brought from the marshes 



64 LOST LEADERS. 

of Holsteln. In America, nature herself has 
put the colonists on many schemes for the 
improvement of dinner, and terrapin soup 
is gratefully associated with memoirs of Vir- 
ginia — in the minds of those who like terrapin 
soup. The canvas-backed duck has been 
praised as highly as the "swopping, swop- 
ping mallard" of a comfortable college in 
Oxford. As to the wild turkey, the poet 
has not yet risen in America who can do 
justice to the charms of that admirable bird. 
Mr. Whitman, who has much to say about 
" bob-a-links " and "whip-poor-wills," and 
some other fowl which sing " when lilacs bloom 
in the garden yard," has neglected, we fear 
the wild turkey, simply because the Muse 
has not given this bird melody, and made it, 
like the robin-redbreast, which goes so well 
with bread-crumbs, " an amiable songster." 
American genius neglects the turkey, and 
positively takes more interest in the migrations 
of the transatlantic sparrow. If the nobler 
fowl can cross the water as safely as the beef 
and mutton of everyday life, he will receive 
the honour he deserves in this country. Some 
students with the deathless thirst of scientific 
men for acclimatization, speak well of the 



ART OF DINING. 65 

Bohemian pheasant, which, unlike some other 
denizens of Bohemia, is fat. But there are 
probably less familiar birds in America that 
rival the duck and the wild turkey, and excel 
the Bohemian pheasant. The existence of 
maize, however, on the Western Continent 
has been a snare to American cooks, who 
have yielded to an absorbing passion for hot 
corn-cakes. 

France is, of course, the land in which the 
Muse of cooking is native. " If we turn north 
towards Belgium," says a modern author, " we 
shall find much that is good in cooking and 
eating known, if not universally practised." 
He has also made the discovery that the 
Belgian air and climate are admirably suited 
to develop the best qualities of Burgundy. 
It is from these favoured and ingenious people 
that England ought to learn a lesson, or rather 
a good many lessons. To begin at the 
beginning, with soup, does not every one know 
that all domestic soups in England, which 
bear French names, are really the same soup, 
just as almost all puddings are, or may be, 
called cabinet pudding ? The one word 
"Julienne" covers all the watery, chill and 
tasteless, or terribly salt, decoctions, in which 

F 



66 LOST LEADERS. 

a few shreds of vegetables appear drifting 
through the illimitable inane. Other names 
are given at will by the help of a cookery-book 
and a French dictionary ; but all these soups, 
at bottom, are attempts to be Julienne soup. 
The idea of looking on soup " as a vehicle for 
applying to the palate certain herbal flavours," 
is remote indeed from the Plain Cook's mind. 
There is a deeply rooted conviction in her 
inmost soul that all vegetables, which are not 
potatoes or cabbages, partake of the nature of 
evil. As to eating vegetables apart from meat, 
it was once as hard to get English domestics 
to let you do that, as to get a Cretan cook 
to serve woodcock with the trail. " Kopros 
is not a thing to be eaten," says the Cretan, 
according to a traveller ; and the natural heart 
of the English race regards vegetables, when 
eaten as a plat apart, with equal disfavour. 
Probably the market gardener's ignorance and 
conservatism are partly in fault. Cabbage 
he knows, and potatoes he knows, but what 
are pennyroyal and chervil ? He has 'cauli- 
flower for you, but never says, " Here is rue for 
you, and rosemary for you." Cooks do not 
give him botany lessons, and a Scottish cook, 
deprived of bay-leaf, has been known to make 



ART OF DINING, 67 

an experiment in the use of what she called 
" Roderick Randoms," members of the vege- 
table kingdom which proved to be rhodo- 
dendron. As for pennyroyal, most people 
have only heard of it through Mr. Bohn's 
crib to Aristophanes. 

When it comes to fish, it is allowed that 
we are not an insular people for nothing. 
There are other forms of good living that 
Paris knows not of, so to speak, at first 
hand, native to England. Turtle soup, turbot 
and lobster sauce, a haunch of venison, and 
a grouse, are, we may say without chau- 
vinism, a "truly royal repast." But we in- 
cur the contempt of foreigners once more in 
the matter of wines. To like sherry, the 
coarse and fiery, is a matter of habit, which 
would teach us to love betel-root, and rejoice 
in the very peculiar drink of the South Sea 
islanders. Some purists include champagne 
in the same condemnation — the champagne, 
that is, of [this degenerate day. When the 
Russians drank up the contents of the widow 
Clicquot's cellars, they found a sweet natural 
wine, to which they have constantly adhered. 
But Western Europe, all the Europe which, 
as M. Comte puts it, "synergizes" after 



6S LOST LEADERS. 

light and positivism, has tended towards 
champagnes more or less dry. The English 
serve this " grog mousseux " as a necessity for 
social liveliness, and have not come back ta 
the sweet wine which was only meant to be 
drunk with sweets. A Quarterly reviewer 
is very severe in his condemnation of a practice 
which will only yield to the stress of some 
European convulsion in politics and society. 
These matters are like certain large reforms, 
they either come to pass without observation 
in the slow changes of things, or great move- 
ments in the world are accompanied by small 
ones in everyday life. Dry champagne came 
in after the Revolution ; it may go out after 
a European war, which will make wine either 
expensive, or, if cheap, a palpably spurious 
article. "Monotony and base servile imita- 
tion " may be the bane of eating and drinking 
in England ; but the existence of monotony 
shows that the English really do not care very 
much about dining considered as a fine art. 
When they do care, they cover their interest 
in the matter decently, with the veil of 
humorous affectation. They cannot spon- 
taneously and sincerely make a business of it, 
as the French do in all good faith. Even if 



ART OF DINING. 69 

they had a genius for dining-, we doubt if a 
critic is right in thinking they should dine 
at six o'clock or seven at latest. Whether 
in the country or in town, the business or 
amusement of the day claims more time. 
Sportsmen, for example, in early autumn 
could not possibly return home by six very 
frequently ; and in summer six o'clock may be 
so sultry an hour that the thought of food is 
intolerable. Still, it must be admitted that 
the unawakened state of the market-gardener 
and the condition of English soups are matters 
deserving serious consideration. 



70 LOST LEADERS, 



AMERICAN HUMOUR, 

One of the most popular of American humor- 
ists has elicited from a member of an English 
audience, who did not quite hear him lecture, 
a remark of an amusing sort. The aggrieved 
listener proclaimed that he "had a right to 
hear." This was one of the turbulent people 
who should read Mazzini, and learn that man 
has no rights worth mentioning — only duties, 
one of which is to hold his tongue in season. 
If Mr. Bret Harte's words did not reach all his 
audience, his writings at least have come home 
to most English readers. They suggest a con- 
sideration of the many points of difference 
which distinguish American from English 
humour. The Americans are of our own 
stock, yet in their treatment of the ludicrous 
how unlike us they are ! As far as fun goes, 
the race has certainly become "differentiated," 
as the philosophers say, on the other side of 



AMERICAN HUMOUR. 71 

the Atlantic. It does not seem probable that 
the infusion of alien blood has caused the 
difference. The native redskin can claim 
few descendants among the civilized Ameri- 
cans, and the native redskin had no sense of 
humour. We all remember Cooper's Hawk- 
eye or Leather Stocking, with his " peculiar 
silent laugh." He was obliged to laugh silently 
for fear of attracting the unfavourable notice 
of the Mingo, who might be hiding in the 
nearest bush. The red men found it simpler 
and safer not to laugh at all. No, it is not 
from the natives that the people of the States 
get their peculiar fun. As to the German 

emigrants But why pursue the subject? 

The Abbd Bouhours told the bitter truth 
about German wit, though, in new conditions 
and on a fresh soil, the Teuton has helped 
to produce Hans Breitmann. We laugh at 
Hans, however, and with his creator. Hans 
does not make us laugh by conscious efforts 
of humour. Whence, then, come Artemus 
Ward, Mark Twain, and Mr. Bret Harte, who 
are probably the American humorists whose 
popularity is widest ? Mr. Bret Harte's own 
fun is much more English and less thoroughly 
Yankee than that of his contemporaries. He 



72 LOST LEADERS. 

is a disciple of Thackeray and Dickens. Of 
all the pupils of Dickens he is perhaps the 
only one who has continued to be himself, 
who has not fallen into a trick of aping his 
master's mannerisms. His mixture of the 
serious, the earnest, the pathetic, makes his 
humour not unlike the melancholy mirth 
of Thackeray and Sterne. He is almost the 
only American humorist with sentiment. It 
is only the air, not the spirit, that is changed 
— ccehim 7ioii animus. 

The changed atmosphere, the new condi- 
tions, do, however, make an immense super- 
ficial difference between the humour even of 
Mr. Bret Harte and that of English writers. 
His fun is derived from the vagaries of huge, 
rough people, with the comic cruelty of the 
old Danes, and with the unexpected tender- 
ness of a sentimental time. The characters 
of the great Texan and Californian drama 
are like our hackneyed friends, the Vikings, 
with a touch, if we may use the term, of 
spooniness. Their humour is often nothing 
more than a disdainful trifling with death ; 
they seize the comic side of manslaughter 
very promptly, and enjoy all the mirth that 
can be got out of revolvers and grizzly bears. 



AMERICAN HUMOUR. 73 

In Mr. Bret Harte's poems of "The Spelling 
Bee " and of " The Break-up of the Society 
upon the Stanlslaw," the fun is of this practical 
sort. The innate mirthfulness of a chunk of 
old red sandstone is illustrated, and you are 
introduced to people who not only take 
delight of battle with their peers, but think 
the said battle the most killing joke in the 
world. The incongruities of these revels of 
wild men in a new world ; their confusion 
when civilization meets them in the shape of 
a respectable woman or of a baby ; their 
grotesque way of clinging to religion, as they 
understand it, make up the transatlantic 
element in this American humour. The rest 
of it is " European quite," though none the 
worse for that. It is more humane, on the 
whole, than the laughable and amazing para- 
doxes of Mark Twain, or the naivetes of 
Artemus Ward. 

Two remarkable features in American 
humour, as it is shown in the great body of 
comic writers who are represented by Mark 
Twain and the "Genial Showman," are its 
rusticity and its puritanism. The fun is the 
fun of rough villagers, who use quaint, straight- 
forward words, and have developed, or carried 



74 LOST LEADERS. 

over in the Mayflower, a slang of their own. 
They do not want anything too refined ; they 
are not in the least like the farm-lad to whose 
shirt a serpent clung as he was dressing after 
bathing. Many people have read how he 
fled into the farm-yard, where the maidens 
were busy ; how he did not dare to stop, and 
sought escape, not from woman's help— he 
was too modest — but in running so fast that, 
obedient to the laws of centrifugal motion, 
the snake waved out behind him like a 
flag. The village wits are not so shy. The 
young ladies, like Betsy Ward, say, " If you 
mean getting hitched, I'm on." The public is 
not above the most practical jokes, and a good 
deal of the amusement is derived from the 
extreme dryness, the countrified slowness of 
the narrative. The humorists are Puritans 
at bottom, as well as rustics. They have an 
amazing familiarity with certain religious ideas 
and certain Biblical terms. There is a kind 
of audacity in their use of the Scriptures, 
which reminds one of the freedom of mediaeval 
mystery-plays. Probably this boldness began 
not in scepticism or in irreverence, but in 
honest familiar faith. It certainly seems very 
odd to us in England, and probably expressions 



AMERICAN HUMOUR. 75 

often get a laugh which would pass unnoticed 
in America. An astounding coolness and 
freedom of manners probably go for some- 
thing in the effect produced by American 
humour. There is nothing of the social 
llunkeyism in it which too often marks our 
own satirists. Artemus Ward's reports of his. 
own conversations with the mighty of the 
earth were made highly ludicrous by the 
homely want of self-consciousness, displayed 
by the owner of the Kangaroo, that " amoosin' 
little cuss," and of the "two moral B'ars." 
But it is vain to attempt to analyze the fun of 
Artemus Ward. Why did he make some 
people laugh till they cried, while others were 
all untouched ? His secret probably was 
almost entirely one of manner, a trick of 
almost idiotic naivete ^ like that of Lord Dun- 
dreary, covering real shrewdness. He had 
his rustic chaff, his Puritan profanity ; his 
manner was the essence of his mirth. It was 
one of the ultimate constituents of the ludi- 
crous, beyond which it is useless to inquire. 

With Mark Twain we are on smoother 
ground. An almost Mephistophilean coolness, 
an unwearying search after the comic sides of 
serious subjects, after the mean possibilities 



76 LOST LEADERS. 

of the sublime, — these, with a native sense of 
incongruities and a glorious vein of exaggera- 
tion, make up his stock-in-trade. The colossal 
exaggeration is, of course, natural to a land of 
ocean-like rivers and almighty tall pumpkins. 
No one has made such charming use of the 
trick as Mark Twain. The dryness of the 
story of a greenhorn's sufferings who had 
purchased " a genuine Mexican plug," is one 
of the funniest things in literature. The 
intense gravity and self-pity of the sufferer, 
the enormous and Gargantuan feats of his 
steed, the extreme distress of body thence 
resulting, make up a passage more moving 
than anything in Rabelais. The same con- 
trast, between an innocent style of narrative 
and the huge palpable nonsense of the story 
told, marks the tale of the agricultural news- 
paper which Mr. Twain edited. To a joker 
of jokes of this sort, a tour through Palestine 
presented irresistible attractions. It is when 
we read of the " Innocents Abroad " that we 
discern the weak point of American humour 
when carried to its extreme. Here, indeed, 
is the place where the most peculiarly 
American fun has always failed. It has lacked 
reverence and sympathy, and so, when it was 



AMERICAN HUMOUR. 77 

most itself, never approached the master- 
pieces of Thackeray and Dickens. To balance 
its defect by its merit, American humour has 
always dared to speak out, and Mark Twain 
especially has hit hard the errors of public 
opinion and the dishonest compromises of 
custom. 



78 LOST LEADERS, 



SUSPENDED ANIMATION. 

It used to be thought that a man who said he 
liked dry champagne would say anything. In 
the same way, some persons may hold that a 
person who could believe in the recurrent 
Australian story of " suspended animation " — 
artificially produced in animals, and prolonged 
for months — could believe in anything. It 
does not do, however, to be too dogmatic about 
matters of opinion in this world. Perhaps 
the Australian tale of an invention by which 
sheep and oxen are first made lifeless, then 
rendered "stiff ones" by freezing, and then 
restored to life, and reproduced with gravy, 
may be like the genius of Beethoven. Very 
few persons (and these artists) believed in 
Beethoven at first, but now he is often con- 
sidered to be the greatest of composers. Per- 
haps great discoveries, like the works of men 
of original genius, are certain to be received at 



SUSPENDED ANIMATION. 



19 



iirst with incredulity and mockery. We will 
not, therefore, take up a dogmatic position, 
either about the painting or the preserved 
meats of the future ; but will hope for the best. 
The ideally best, of course, is that the tale 
from Australia may prove true. In that case 
the poorest will be able to earn " three square 
meals a day," like the Australians themselves ; 
and while English butchers suffer (for some 
one must suffer in all great revolutions), smil- 
ing Plenty will walk through our land study- 
ing a cookery-book. There are optimistic 
thinkers, who gravely argue that the serious 
desires of humanity are the pledges of their 
own future fulfilment. If that be correct, the 
Australian myth may be founded on fact 
There is no desire more deep-rooted in our 
perishable nature than that which asks for 
plenty of beef and mutton at low prices. 
Again, humanity has so often turned over the 
idea of conveniently suspended animation 
before, that there must be something in that 
conception. If we examine the history of 
ideas we shall find that they at first exist 
"in the air." They float about, beautiful 
alluring visions, ready to be caught and made 
to serve mortal needs by the right man at 



8o LOST LEADERS. 

the right moment. Thus Empedocles, Lucre- 
tius, and the author of "Vestiges of Creation," 
all found out Darwinism before Mr. Darwin. 
They spied the idea, but they left it floating ; 
they did not trap it, and break it into scien- 
tific harness. Solomon De Caus, as all the 
world has heard, was put into a lunatic 
asylum for inventing the steam-engine, though 
no one would have doubted his sanity if he 
had offered to raise the devil, or to produce 
the philosopher's stone, or the elixir vitce. 
Now, these precious possessions have not 
been more in men's minds than a system of 
conveniently suspended animation. There is 
scarcely a peasantry in Europe that does not 
sing the ballad of the dead bride. This lady, 
in the legends, always loves the cavalier not 
selected by her parents, the detrimental cava- 
lier. To avoid the wedding which is thrust 
on her, she gets an old witch to do what the 
Australian romancer professes to do — to sus- 
pend her animation, and so she is carried on 
an open bier to a chapel on the border of her 
lover's lands. There he rides, the right lover, 
with his men-at-arms ; the bride revives just 
in time, is lifted on to his saddle-bow, and 
•* they need swift steeds that follow " the 



SUSPENDED ANIMATION. %i 

fugitive pair. The sleeping beauty, who is 
thrown into so long a swoon by the prick of 
the fairy thorn, is another very old example ; 
while " Snow-white," in her glass coffin, in the 
German nursery tale, is a third instance. 

It is not only the early fancy of the ballad- 
mongers and fairy tale-tellers that has dwelt 
longingly on the idea of suspended animation. 
All the mystics, who all follow the same dim 
track that leads to nothing, have believed in 
various forms of the imaginary Australian 
experiment. The seers of most tribes, from 
Kamschatka to Zululand, and thence to 
Australia, are feigned to be able to send their 
souls away, while their bodies lie passive in 
the magical tent. The soul wanders over the 
earthly world, and even to the home of the 
dead, and returns, in the shape of a butterfly 
or of a serpent, to the body which has been 
lying motionless, but uncorruptible, in ap- 
parent death. The Indian Yogis can attain 
that third state of being, all three being un- 
known to Brahma, which is neither sleeping 
nor waking, but trance. To produce this 
ecstasy, to do for themselves what some 
people at the Antipodes pretend to do to 
sheep and cattle, is the ideal aim of the exist- 

G 



82 LOST LEADERS. 

ence of the Yogi. The Neoplatonists were 
no wiser, and Greek legend tells a well-known 
story of a married mystic whose suspended 
animation began at last to bore his wife 
" Dear Hermotimus " — that was his name, if 
we have not forgotten it — " is quite the most 
absent of men," his spouse would say, when 
her husband's soul left his body and took its 
walks abroad. On one occasion the philo- 
sopher's spiritual part remained abroad so long 
that his lady ceased to expect its return. She 
therefore went through the usual mourning, 
cut her hair, cried, and finally burned the 
body on the funeral-pyre. "We can do no 
more for miserable mortals, when once the 
spirit has left their bones," says Homer. 

At that very moment the spirit returned, 
and found its uninsured tenement of clay 
reduced to ashes. The sequel may be found 
in a poem of the late Professor Aytoun's, and 
in the same volume occurs the wondrous tale 
of Colonel Townsend, who could suspend his 
animation at pleasure. 

There is certainly a good deal of risk, as 
well as of convenience, in suspended animation. 
People do not always welcome Rip Van 
Winkle when he returns to life, as we would 



SUSPENDED ANIMATION. ?>z 

all welcome Mr, Jefferson if he revisited the 
glimpses of the footlights. 

*' The hard heir strides about the lands, 
And will not yield them for a day. " 

There is the horrible chance of being buried 
alive, which was always present to the mind 
of Edgar Poe. It occurs in one of his half- 
humorous stories, where a cataleptic man, 
suddenly waking in a narrow bed, in the smell 
of earthy mould, believes he has been interred, 
but finds himself mistaken. In the " Fall of 
The House of Usher" the wretched brother, 
with his nervous intensity of sensation, hears 
his sister for four days stirring in her vault 
before she makes her escape. In the "Strange 
Effects of Mesmerism on a Dying Man," the 
animation is mesmerically suspended at the 
very instant when it was about naturally to 
cease. The results, when the passes were 
reversed, and the half fled life was half re- 
stored, are described in a passage not to be 
recommended to sensitive readers. M. About, 
uses the same general idea in the fantastic plot 
of his "L'Homme a I'Oreille Cassee," and the 
risk of breakage was insisted on by M. About 
as well as by the inventive Australian re- 
porter. Mr. Clarke Russell has also frozen 



84 LOST LEADERS, 

a Pirate. Thus the idea of suspended anima- 
tion is "in the air," is floating among the 
visions of men of genius. It is, perhaps, for the 
great continent beneath the Southern Cross 
to realize the dreams of savages, of seers, of 
novehsts, of poets, of Yogis, of Plotinus, of M. 
About, and of Swedenborg. Swedenborg, too, 
was a suspended animationist, if we may use 
the term. What else than suspension of outer 
life was his "internal breathing," by which 
his body existed while his soul was in heaven, 
hell, or the ends of the earth ? When the 
Australian discovery is universally believed 
in (and acted on), then, and perhaps not till 
then, will be the time for the great unappreci- 
ated. They will go quietly to sleep, to waken 
a hundred years hence, and learn how pos- 
terity likes their pictures and poems. They 
may not always be satisfied with the results ; 
but no artist will disbelieve in the favourable 
verdict of posterity till the supposed Australian 
method is applied to men as well as to sheep 
and kangaroos. 



C Ss ) 



BREAKING UP. 

The schools have by this time all " broken 
up," if that is still the term which expresses the 
beginning of their vacation. "Breaking up" 
is no longer the festival that it was in the good 
old coaching days — nothing is what it was 
in the good old coaching days. Boys can no 
longer pass a whole happy day driving through 
the country and firing peas at the wayfaring 
man. They have to travel by railway, and 
other voyagers may well pray that their 
flight be not on breaking-up day. The un- 
trammeled spirits of boyhood are very much 
what they have always been. Boys fill the 
carriages to overflowing. They sing, they 
shout, they devour extraordinary quantities 
of refreshment, they buy whole libraries of 
railway novels, and, generally speaking, behave 
as if the earth and the fulness of it were their 
own. This is trying to the mature traveller. 



86 LOST LEADERS. 

who has plenty of luggage on his mind, and 
who wishes to sleep or to read the newspaper. 
Boys have an extraordinary knack of losing 
their own luggage, and of appearing at home, 
like the companions of Ulysses, "bearing with 
them only empty hands." This is usually 
their first exploit in the holidays. Their 
arrival causes great excitement among their 
little sisters, and in the breasts of their fathers 
wakens a presentiment of woe. When a little 
boy comes home his first idea is to indulge 
in harmless swagger. When Tom Tulliver 
went to school, he took some percussion caps 
with him that the other lads might suppose 
him to be familiar with the use of guns. The 
schoolboy has other devices for keeping up 
the manly character in the family circle. 
The younger ones gather round him while 
he narrates the adventures of himself, and 
Smith minor, and Walker (of Briggs's house), 
in a truly epic spirit. He has made unheard- 
of expeditions up the river, has chaffed a 
farmer almost into apoplexy, has come in 
fifth in the house paper-chase, has put the 
French master to open shame, and has got 
his twenty-two colours. These are the things 
that make a boy respected by his younger 



BREAKING UP. 87 

brothers, and admired by his still younger 
sisters. They of course have a good deal to 
tell him. The setter puppies must be in- 
spected. A match is being got up with the 
village eleven, who are boastful and confident 
in the possession of a bowling curate. To 
this the family hero rejoins that "he will 
crump the parson," a threat not so awful as 
it sounds. There is a wasps' nest which has 
been carefully preserved for this eventful 
hour, and which is to be besieged with boiling 
water, gunpowder, and other engines of war- 
fare. Thus the schoolboy's first days at home 
are a glorious hour of crowded sport. 

It cannot be denied that, as the holidays go 
on, a biggish boy sometimes finds time hang 
heavy on his hands, while his father and 
mother find him hang heavy on theirs. The 
first excitement rubs off. The fun of getting 
up handicap races among children under 
twelve years of age wears away. One can- 
not always be taking wasps' nests. Of course 
there are many happy boys who live in the 
country, and pursue the pleasures of man- 
hood with the zest of extreme youth. Before 
they are fourteen, they have a rod on a 
salmon river, a gun on a moor, horses and 



S8 LOST LEADERS. 

yachts, and boats at their will, with keepers 
and gillies to do their bidding. Others, not 
so much indulged by fortune and fond 
parents, live at least among hills and streams, 
or by the sea. They are never " in the way," 
for they are always in the open air. Their 
summer holidays may be things to look back 
upon all through life. Natural history, and 
the beauty of solitary nature ; the joys of the 
swimmer in deep river pools shut in with cool 
grey walls of rock, and fringed with fern ; the 
loveliness of the high table lands, and the 
intense hush that follows sunset by the trout 
stream — these things are theirs, and become 
a part of their consciousness. In later and 
wearier years these spectacles will flash before 
their eyes unbidden, they will see the water 
dimpled by rising trout, and watch the cattle 
stealing through the ford, and disappearing, 
grey shapes, in the grey of the hills. 

In boyhood, the legends that cling to 
ancient castles where only a shell of stone 
is standing, and to the ash-trees that grow by 
the feudal gateway, and supplied the wood 
for spear shafts — these and all the stories of 
red men that haunt the moors, and of kelpies 
that make their dwelling in the waters, become 



BREAKING UP. 89 

very real to us when standing in the dusk by 
a moorland loch. If some otter or great fish 
breaks the water and the stillness with a sud- 
den splash, a boy feels a romantic thrill, a 
pause of expectation, that later he will never 
experience. "The thoughts of a boy are 
long, long thoughts," says the poet ; he 
thinks them out by himself on the downs, 
or the hills, and tells them to nobody. 

If we all lived in the country, the advent of 
boys would not be a thing to contemplate 
with secret dread. It is rather a terrible 
thing, a houseful of boys in a town, or in a 
pretty thickly populated district. Boys, it is 
true, are always a source of pleasure to the 
humorist and the scientific observer of man- 
kind. They are scarcely our fellow-creatures, 
so to speak ; they live in a world of their own, 
ruled by eccentric traditional laws. They 
have their own heroes, and are much more 
interested in Mr. Alan Steel or Lohmann 
than in persons like Mr. Arthur Balfour, 
whose cricket is only middling. They have 
rules of conduct which cannot be called im- 
moral, but which are certainly relics of a very 
ancient state of tribal morality. The humour 
of it is that the modern boy is so grave, so 



90 LOST LEADERS. 

self-assured, and has such abundance of 
aplomb. He has acquired an air of mysterious 
sagacity, and occasionally seems to smile at 
the petty interests with which men divert them- 
selves. In a suburban or city home, he can find 
very little that he thinks worth doing, and then 
he becomes discontented and disagreeable. It 
is better that he should do that, perhaps, than 
that he should aim at being a dandy. The 
boy-dandy is an odd, and at bottom a slovenly, 
creature. He is fond of varnished boots, of 
pink neckties, of lavender-coloured gloves 
and, above all, of scent. The quantity of 
scent that a lad of sixteen will pour on his 
handkerchief is something perfectly astound- 
ing. In this stage of his development he is 
addicted to falling into love, or rather into 
flirtation. He keeps up a correspondence 
with a young lady in Miss Pinkerton's estab- 
lishment. They see each other in church, 
when he looks unutterable things from the 
gallery. This kind of boy is not unlikely to 
interest himself, speculatively, in horse-races. 
He has communications with a bookmaker 
who finds Boulogne a salubrious residence. 
He would like to know the officers, if his 
home is in a garrison town, and he humbly 



BREAKING UP. 91! 

imitates these warriors at an immense dis- 
tance. He passes much time in trying to 
colour a pipe. This is not a nice sort of boy 
to have at home for the holidays, nor is it 
likely that he does much good when he is at 
school. It is pleasanter to think of the count- 
less jolly little fellows of twelve, who are 
happily busy all day with lawn-tennis, cricket, 
and general diversion in the open air. Their 
appearance, their manly frankness, their 
modesty and good temper, make their homes 
happier in the holidays than in the quieter 
nine months of the year. Let us hope that 
they will not put off their holiday tasks to be 
learned in the train on their way back to 
school. This, alas, is the manner of boy- 
hood. 



92 LOST LEADERS. 



ON SHAVING. 

A PHILANTHROPIST has published a little 
book which interests persons who in civilized 
society form a respectable minority, and in 
the savage world an overpowering majority. 
But, savage or polite, almost all men must 
shave, or must be shaved ; and the author of 
*' A Few Useful Hints on Shaving," is, in his 
degree, a benefactor to his fellow-creatures. 
The mere existence of the beard may be 
accounted for in various ways ; but, however 
we explain it, the beard is apt to prove a 
nuisance to its proprietor. Speculators of the 
old school may explain the beard as part of 
the punishment entailed on man with the 
curse of labour. The toilsome day begins 
with the task of scraping the chin and con- 
templating, as the process goes on, a face that 
day by day grows older and more weary. 
No race that shaves can shirk the sense of 



ON SHA VING. 95 

passing time, or be unaware of the approach 
of wrinkles, of " crow's-feet," of greyness. 
Shaving is the most melancholy, and to many 
people the most laborious of labours. It 
seems, therefore, more plausible (if less scien- 
tific) to look on the beard as a penalty for some 
ancient offence of our race, than to say with 
Mr. Grant Allen, and perhaps other disciples 
of Mr. Darwin, that the beard is the survival 
of a very primitive decoration. According to 
this view man was originally very hairy. His 
hair wore off in patches as he acquired the 
habits of sleeping on his sides and of sitting 
with his back against a tree, or against the 
wall of his hut. The hair of dogs is not worn 
off thus, but what of that .^ After some hun- 
dreds of thousands of years had passed, our 
ancestors (according to this system) awoke to 
the consciousness that they were patchy and 
spotty, and they determined to eradicate all 
hair that was not ornamental. The eyebrows, 
moustache, and, unfortunately, the beard 
seemed to most races worth preserving. 
There are, indeed, some happy peoples who 
have no beards, or none worth notice. Very 
early in their history they must have taken the 
great resolve to " live down " and root out the 



94 LOST LEADERS. 

martial growth that fringes our lips. But 
among European peoples the absence of a 
beard has usually been a reproach, and the 
enemies of Njal, in ancient Iceland, could find 
nothing worse to say of him than that he was 
beardless. Mehemet Ali bought sham beards 
for his Egyptian grenadiers, that they might 
more closely resemble the European model. 
The soldiers of Harold thought that the Nor- 
mans were all priests, because they were 
" shavelings ; " and it is only natural that 
soldiers should in all countries be bearded. It 
is almost impossible to shave during a cam- 
paign. Stendhal, the French novelist and 
critic, was remarkable as the best, perhaps the 
only, clean-shaved man in the French army 
during the dreadful retreat from Moscow. In 
his time, as in that of our fathers, ideas of 
beauty had changed, and the smooth chin 
was as much the mark of a gentleman as the 
bearded chin had been the token of a man. 

The idea that shaving is a duty — cere- 
monial, as among the Egyptian priests, or 
social merely, as among ourselves — is older 
than the invention of steel or even of bronze 
razors. Nothing is more remarkable in 
savage life than the resolution of the braves 



ON SHA VING. 95 

who shave with a shell or with a broken piece 
of glass, left by European mariners. A 
warrior will throw himself upon the ground, 
and while one friend sits on his head, and 
another holds his arms and prevents him 
from struggling, a third will scrape his chin 
with the shell or the broken bottle-glass till 
he rises, bleeding, but beardless. Macaulay, 
it seems, must have shaved almost as badly 
with the razor of modern life. When he went 
to a barber, and, after an easy shave, asked 
what he owed, the fellow replied, "Just 
what you generally give the man who shaves 
you, sir." " I generally give him two cuts on 
each cheek," said the historian of England. 
Shaving requires a combination of qualities 
which rarely meet in one amateur. You 
should have plenty of razors, unlike a Prussian 
ambassador of the stingy Frederick. This 
ambassador, according to Voltaire, cut his 
throat with the only razor he possessed. The 
chin of that diplomatist must have been un- 
worthy alike of the Court to which he was 
accredited, and of that from which he came. 
The exquisite shaver who would face the 
world with a smooth chin requires many 
razors, many strops, many brushes, odd soaps. 



g6 LOST LEADERS. 

a light steady hand, and, perhaps, a certain 
gaiety of temper which prevents edged weapons 
from offering unholy temptations. Possibly the 
shaver is born, not made, like the poet ; it is 
sure that many men are born with an inability 
to shave. Hence comes the need for the 
kindly race of barbers, a race dear to litera- 
ture. Their shops were the earliest clubs, 
their conversation was all the ancient world 
knew in the way of society journals. Horace, 
George Eliot, Beaumarchais, Cervantes, and 
Scott have appreciated the barber, and cele- 
brated his characteristics. If the wearing of 
the beard ever became universal, the world,. 
and especially the Spanish and Italian world,, 
would sadly miss the barber and the barber's 
shop. The energy of the British character, 
our zeal for individual enterprise, makes us 
a self-shaving race ; the Latin peoples are 
economical, but they do not grudge paying 
for an easy shave. Americans in this matter 
are more Continental than English in their 
taste. Was it not in Marseilles that his 
friends induced Mark Twain to be shaved by 
a barber worthy of the bottle-glass or sea- 
shell stage of his profession ? They pre- 
tended that his performances were equal to 



ON SUA VING. 97 

those of the barber on board the ship that 
brought them from America. 

Englishmen, as a rule, shave themselves 
when they do not wear beards. The author 
of the little pamphlet before us gives a dozen 
curious hints which prove the difficulty of the 
art. Almost all razors, he seems to think, 
were " made to sell." He suggests that razors 
of tried and trusty character, razors whose 
public form can be depended upon, should 
be purchased of barbers. But it is not every 
barber who will part with such possessions. 
Razors are like Scotch sheep dogs ; no one 
would keep a bad one, or sell, or give away 
a good one. Coelebs did not find the quest 
of a wife more arduous than all men find that 
of a really responsible razor. You may be 
unlucky in the important matter of lather. 
For soap our author gives a recipe which 
reminds one of Walton's quaint prescriptions 
and queer preparations. Shaving soap should 
be made at home, it seems, and the mystery 
of its manufacture is here disclosed. The 
only way to keep razors " set " is to persevere 
in sending them to various barbers till the 
genius who can "set" them to your hand 
is discovered. Perhaps he lives at Aleppo ; 

H 



98 LOST LEADERS. 

perhaps, like the father of a heroine of comic 
song, at Jerusalem. Till he is discovered the 
shaver wins no secure happiness, and in the 
search for the barber who has an elective 
affinity for the shaver may be found 
material for an operetta or an epic. The 
shaver figures as a sort of Alastor, seeking the 
ideal setter of razors, as Shelley's Alastor 
sought ideal beauty in the neighbourhood of 
Afghanistan, and in the very home of the Cen- 
tral Asian Question. No razor should be con- 
demned till it has been " stropped " well and 
carefully. And this brings us to the great 
topic of strops. Some say that soldiers' old 
buff" belts make the best strops. The Scotch 
peasantry use a peculiar hard smooth fungus 
which grows in decaying elm trees. Our 
author has heard that "Government now 
demands the return of" the old buff" belts. 
Government cannot want them all for its 
own use, and perhaps will see to it that old 
buff" strops once more find an open market. 
In the lack of old buff" belts, you may mix 
up tallow and the ashes of burnt newspaper, 
and smear this unctuous compound on the 
strop. People who neglect these " tips," and 
who are clumsy, like most of us, may waste 



ON SHA VING. 99 

a forty-eighth part of their adult years in 
shaving. This time is worth economizing, and 
with a Httle forethought, an ideal razor-setter, 
tallow, buff belts, burnt newspapers, and the 
rest, we may shave in five minutes daily. 



loo L0S2 LEADERS. 



STREET NOISES. 

" If any calm, a calm despair," is the portion 
of people who would like to reform, that is to 
abolish, the street noises of London. These 
noises are constantly commented upon with 
much freedom in the columns of various con- 
temporaries. Nor is this remarkable, for 
persons who are occupied with what is called 
" brainwork," are peculiarly sensitive to the 
disturbances of the streets. Sometimes they 
cannot sleep till morning, sometimes they can 
only sleep in the earlier watches of the night, 
and, as a rule, they cannot write novels, or 
articles, or treatises ; they cannot compose 
comic operas, or paint, in the midst of a row. 
Now, the streets of London are the scenes of 
rows at every hour of night and day-light. 
It is not the roll of carriages and carts that 
provokes irritation, and drives the sensitive 
man or woman half mad. Even the whistling 






STREET NOISES. loi 

of the metropolitan trains may, perhaps, be 
borne with if the drivers are not too ambitious 
artists, and do not attempt fantasias and 
variations on their powerful instrument. The 
noises that ruin health, temper, and power of 
work ; the noises that cause an incalculable 
waste of time, money, and power, are all 
voluntary, and perhaps preventable. Let us 
examine the working hours of the nervous or 
irritable musician, mathematician, man of 
letters, or member of Parliament. On second 
thoughts, the last may be omitted, as if he 
cannot sleep in a tedious debate, his case is 
beyond cure. 

** Not bromide of potassium 
Nor all the drowsy speeches in the world " 

can medicine him to forgetfulness of street 
noises. For the others, the day may be said 
to begin about five, when the voice of the 
chimney-sweep is heard in the land. Here 
we may observe that servants are the real 
causes of half the most provoking noises in 
London. People ask why the sweep cannot 
ring the bell, like other people. But the 
same people remark that even the howl of 
the sweep does not waken the neighbours' 



I02 LOST LEADERS. 

servants. Of what avail, then, could his use 
of the bell prove ? It generally takes the 
sweep twenty-five minutes exactly to bring 
the servants to open the door. Meanwhile, 
the eminent men of letters in the street open 
their windows, and show a very fair command 
of language understanded by the people. But 
the sweep only laughs, and every three 
minutes utters a howl which resembles no 
other noise with which men are acquainted. 
Where do young sweeps learn to make this 
cry which can only be acquired by long 
practice? Perhaps it is inherited, like the 
music of "the damned nightingales," as the 
sleepless political economist called the Dau- 
lian birds. 

When the sweep is silent, when slumber is 
stealing over the weary eyelids, then traction 
engines, or steam-rollers, or some other scien- 
tific improvement on wheels begin to traverse 
the streets and shake the houses. This does 
not last more than a quarter of an hour, and 
then a big bell rings, and the working men 
and women tramp gaily by, chatting noisily 
and in excellent spirits. Now comes the 
milkman's turn. He, like the chimney-sweep, 
has his own howl, softer, more flute-like in 



STREET NOISES. 103 

quality than that of the sweep, but still 
capable of waking any one who is not a 
domestic servant in hard training. The milk- 
man also cries "woa" to his horse at every 
house, and accompanies himself on his great 
tin cans, making a noise most tolerable, and 
not to be endured. Is it necessary, abso- 
lutely necessary, that the milkman should 
howl ? In some parts of town milkwomen dis- 
tribute their wares without howling. They 
do, certainly, wear very short petticoats, but 
that is matter, as Aristotle says, for a separate 
disquisition. On the other hand, milkwomen 
exist who howl as loudly as milkmen. We 
cannot but fear that without these noises it 
would be difficult to attract the notice of 
servants. If this pessimistic view be correct, 
sweeps and milkmen will howl while London 
is a city inhabited. And even if we could 
secure the services of milkwomen of the silent 
species that ring the bell, could we hope to 
have female chimney-sweeps as well behaved ? 
Here, at all events, is a new opening for 
female labour. When the milkman has done 
his worst, the watercress people come and 
mournfully ejaculate. Now it is time for the 
sleepless and nervous to get up and do their 



I04 LOST LEADERS. 

work. Now, too, the barrel-organ comes 
round. There are persons who, fortunately 
for themselves, are so indifferent to music 
that they do not mind the barrel-organ. It 
is neither better nor worse to them than the 
notes of Patti, and from the voice of that 
siren, as from all music, they withdraw their 
attention without difficulty. But other persons 
cannot work while the dirty grinder and the 
women that drag his instrument are within 
hearing. The barrel-organ, again, is strong 
in the support of servants, especially nurses, 
who find that the music diverts babies. The 
rest of the day is made hideous by the awful 
notes of every species of unintelligible and 
uncalled for costermonger, from him who 
(apparently) bellows " Annie Erskine," to her 
who cries, "All a-blowing and a-growing." 
There are miscreants who want to buy bones, 
to sell ferns, to sell images, wicker-chairs, and 
other inutilities, while last come the two men 
who howl in a discordant chorus, and attempt 
to dispose of the second edition of the evening 
paper, at ten o'clock at night At eleven all 
the neighbours turn out their dogs to bark, 
and the dogs waken the cats, which scream 
like demoniacs. Then the public houses close, 



STREET NOISES. 105 

and the people who have been inebriated, if 
not cheered, stagger howling by. Stragglers 
yell and swear, and use foul language till 
about four in the morning, without attracting 
the unfavourable notice of the police. Two 
or three half drunken men and women bellow 
and blaspheme opposite the sufferer's house 
for an hour at a time. And then the chimney- 
sweep renews his rounds, and the milkman 
follows him. 

The screams of costermongers and of rowdies 
might surely be suppressed by the police. A 
system of " local option " might be introduced. 
In all decent quarters householders would 
vote against the licensed bellowings of cads 
and costermongers. In districts which think 
a noise pleasant and lively the voting would 
go the other way. People would know where 
they could be quiet, and where noise would 
reign. Except Bologna, perhaps no town is 
so noisy as London ; but then, compared with 
Bologna, London is tranquillity itself. It is 
fair to say that really nervous and irritable 
people find the country worse than town. 
The noise of the nightingales is deplorable. 
The lamentations of a cow deprived of her 
calf, or of a passion-stricken cow, " wailing 



I06 LOST LEADERS. 

for her demon lover " on the next farm, 
excel anything- that the milkman can per- 
petrate, and almost vie with the perform- 
ances of the sweep. When " the cocks 
are crowing a merry midnight," as in the 
ballad, the sleepless patient wishes he could 
make off as quietly and quickly as the ghostly 
sons of the " Wife of Usher's Well." Dogs 
delight to bark in the country more than in 
town. Leech's picture of the unfortunate 
victim who left London to avoid noise, and 
found that the country was haunted by 
Cochin-China cocks, illustrates the still re- 
pose of the rural life. Nervous people, on the 
whole, are in a minute minority. No one else 
seems to mind how loud and horrible the 
noises of London are, and therefore we have 
faint hope of seeing nocturnal 'Arry gagged, 
the drunken drab " moved on," and the sweep 
compelled to ring the bell till some one comes 
and opens the door of the house in whose 
chimneys he is professionally interested. 



C 107 ) 



LENDING OF BOOKS. 

A POPULAR clergyman has found it necessary 
to appeal to his friends in a very touching 
way. The friends of the divine are requested 
to return "Colenso on the Pentateuch," and 
another volume which they have borrowed. 
The advertisement has none of that irony 
which finds play in the notice, "The Gentleman 
who took a brown silk umbrella, with gold 
crutch handle, and left a blue cotton article, 
is asked to restore the former." The adver- 
tiser seems to speak more in sorrow and in 
hope than in anger, and we sincerely trust 
that he may get his second volume of "Colenso 
on the Pentateuch." But if he does, he will 
be more fortunate than most owners of books. 
Pitiful are their thoughts as they look round 
their shelves. The silent friends of their 
youth, the acquisitions of their mature age> 
have departed. Even popular preachers can- 



io8 LOST LEADERS, 

not work miracles, like Thomas ^ Kempis, 
and pray back their borrowed volumes. As 
the Rev. Robert Elsmere says, " Miracles do 
not happen " — at least, to book-collectors. 

"Murray sighs o'er Pope and Swift, and 
many a treasure more," said Cowper, when 
Lord Mansfield's house was burned, and we 
have all had experience of the sorrows of 
Murray. Even people who are not biblio- 
philes, nay, who class bibliophiles with " blue- 
and-white young men," know that a book in 
several volumes loses an unfair proportion 
of its usefulness, and almost all its value, 
when one or more of the volumes are gone. 
Grote's works, or Mill's, Carlyle's, or Milman's, 
seem nothing when they are incomplete. It 
always happens, somehow, that the very tome 
you want to consult is that which has fallen 
among borrowers. Even Panurge, who praised 
the race of borrowers so eloquently, could 
scarcely have found an excuse for the bor- 
rowers of books. 

" Tel est le triste sort de tout livre prete, 
Souvent il est perdu, toujours il est gate." 

"Often lost, always spoiled," said Charles 
Nodier, " such is the fate of every book one 
lends." The Parisian collector, Guibert de 



LENDING OF BOOKS. 109 

Pixerecourt, would lend no books at all to 
his dearest friends. His motto, inscribed 
above the lintel of his library-door, was, '' Go 
to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." 
As Pixerecourt was the owner of many 
volumes which " they that sell " cannot pro- 
cure, or which could only be bought at 
enormous rates, his caution (we will not say 
churlishness) was rather inconvenient for 
men of letters. But if hard pressed and in 
a strait, he would make his friend a gift of 
the book which was necessary to his studies. 
This course had the effect of preventing 
people from wishing to borrow. But many of 
the great collectors have been more generous 
than Pixerecourt. We forget tha name (not 
an illustrious one) of the too good-natured 
man who labelled his books, " Not my own, 
but my friends'." " Sibi et amicis " (" His 
own and his friends' property") has been 
the motto of several illustrious amateurs since 
Grolier and Maioli stamped it on the beauti- 
fully decorated morocco of their bindings. 
Other people have invented book-plates, con- 
taining fell curses in doggrel Latin or the ver- 
nacular on the careless or dishonest borrower : 

*' Aspice Pierrot pendut 
Parceque librum non a rendu ** 



no LOST LEADERS. 

is the kind of macaronic French and Latin 
which schoolboys are accustomed to write 
under a sketch of the borrower expiating 
his offences on the gallows. 

The mischief of borrowing, the persistent 
ill-luck which cleaves to property thus ob- 
tained, have been proverbial since the young 
prophet dropped the axe-head in the deep 
water, and cried, "Alas, for it is borrowed." 
The old prophet, readily altering the specific 
gravity of the article, enabled his disciple to 
regain it. But there are no prophets now, 
none, at least, who can repair our follies, and 
remove their baneful effects by a friendly 
miracle. What miracle can restore the books 
we borrow and lose, or the books we borrow 
and spoil with ink, or with candle-wax, or 
which children scrawl or paint over, or which 
"the dog ate," like the famous poll-book at 
an Irish election, that fell into the broth, 
and ultimately into the jaws of an illiterate 
animal ? Books are such delicate things ! 
Yet men — and still more frequently women 
— read them so close to the fire that the 
bindings warp, and start, and gape like the 
shells of a moribund oyster. Other people 
never have a paper-knife, and cut the leaves 



LENDING OF BOOKS. ill 

of books with cards, railway tickets, scissors, 
their own fingers, or any other weapon that 
chances to seem convenient. Then books are 
easily dirtied. A little dust falls into the leaves, 
and is smudged by the fingers. No fuller on 
earth can cleanse it The art of man can re- 
move certain sorts of stains, but only by strip- 
ping the book of its binding, and washing 
leaf by leaf in certain acids, an expensive and 
dangerous process. There are books for use, 
stout, everyday articles, and books for pious 
contemplation, original editions, or tomes that 
have belonged to great collectors. The 
borrower, who only wants to extract a pas- 
sage of which he is in momentary need, is a 
person heedless of these distinctions. He 
enters a friend's house, or (for this sort of 
borrower thrives at college) a friend's rooms, 
seizes a first edition of Keats, or Shelley, or 
an Aldine Homer, or Elzevir Caesar of the 
good date, and hurries away with it, leaving 
a hasty scrawl, " I have taken your Shelley," 
signed with initials. Perhaps the owner of 
the book never sees the note. Perhaps he 
does not recognize the hand. The borrower 
is just the man to forget the whole transaction. 
So there is a blank in the shelves, a gap 



112 LOST LEADERS. 

among the orderly volumes, a blank never to 
be filled up, unless our amateur advertises his 
woes in the newspapers. 

All borrowers are bad ; but in this, as in 
other crimes, there are degrees. The man 
who acts as Menage advises, in the aphorism 
which Garrick used as a motto on his book- 
plate, the man who reads a book instantly 
and promptly returns it, is the most par- 
donable borrower. But how few people do 
this ! As a rule, the last thing the borrower 
thinks of is to read the book which he has 
secured. Or rather, that is the last thing but 
one ; the very last idea that enters his mind 
is the project of returning the volume. It 
simply " lies about," and gets dusty in his 
rooms. A very bad borrower is he who 
makes pencil marks on books. Perhaps he 
is a little more excusable than the borrower 
who does not read at all. 

A clean margin is worth all the marginalia 
of Poe, though he, to do him justice, seems 
chiefly to have written on volumes that were 
his own property. De Quincey, according to 
Mr. Hill Burton, appears to have lacked the 
faculty of mind which recognizes the duty of 
returning books. Mr. Hill Burton draws a 



LENDING OF BOOKS. 113 

picture of " Papaverius " living in a sort of 
cave or den, the walls of which were books, 
while books lay around in tubs. Who was to 
find a loved and lost tome in this vast ac- 
cumulation ? But De Quincey at least made 
good use of what he borrowed. The common 
borrower does nothing of the kind. Even 
Professor Mommsen, when he had borrowed 
manuscripts of great value in his possession, 
allowed his house to get itself set on fire. 
Europe lamented with him, but deepest was 
the wail of a certain college at Cambridge 
which had lent its treasures. Even Paul 
Louis Courier blotted horribly a Laurentian 
MS. of " Daphnis and Chloe." When Chenier 
lent his annotated " Malherbe," the borrower 
spilt a bottle of ink over it. Thinking of 
these things, of these terrible, irreparable 
calamities, the wonder is, not that men still 
lend, but that any one has the courage to 
borrow. It is more dreadful far to spoil or 
lose a friend's book than to have our own lost 
or spoiled. Stoicism easily submits to the 
latter sorrow, but there is no remedy for a 
conscience sensible of its own unlucky guilt. 



114 LOST LEADERS, 



CLUB BORES. 

The London Club has been sitting in a 
judicial way on one of its members. This 
member of the Club seems to have been 
what Thackeray's waiter called " a harbitrary 
gent." The servants of the club had to 
complain that he did not make ''their lives 
so sweet to them that they (the servants) 
greatly cared to live," if we may parody 
Arthur's address to his erring queen. The 
Club has not made a vacancy in its ranks by 
requesting the arbitrary member to withdraw. 
But his conduct was deemed, on the report of 
the Committee, worthy of being considered by 
the Club. And that is always something. In 
an age when clubs are really almost universal, 
most men have had occasion to wish that their 
society would sit occasionally on some of the 
members. The member who bullies the 
servants is a not uncommon specimen of the 



CLUB BORES. 115 

club-bore. He may be called the bore trucu- 
lent. He has been excellently caricatured 
by Thackeray in the " Book of Snobs." 

There we have the club-bore who makes 
such a fuss about his chop, and scolds the 
waiter so terribly. " Look at it, sir ; is it a 
chop for a gentleman ? Smell it, sir ; is it 
fit to put on a club table ? " These, or such 
as these, are the words of the gallant terror 
of waiters. Now it is clearly unjust to make 
a waiter responsible for the errors, however 
grave, of a very different character, the 
cook. But this mistake the arbitrary gent is 
continually making. The cook is safe in his 
inaccessible stronghold, down below. He 
cannot be paraded for punishment on the 
quarter-deck, where Captain Bragg, of the 
Gunboat and Torpedo Club, exercises justice. 
Therefore the miserable waiter is rebuked in 
tones of thunder because the Captain's steak 
is underdone, or because Nature (or the 
market gardener) has not made the stalks of 
asparagus so green and succulent as their 
charming tops. People who do not know 
the scolding club-bore at home are apt to be 
thankful that they are not favoured with his 
intimate acquaintance, and are doubly grateful 



ii6 LOST LEADERS. 

that they are not members of his family. 
For if, in a large and quiet room full of 
strangers, a man can give loose to his temper 
without provocation, and outroar the thunder, 
what must this noisy person do at home ? 
" In an English family," says a social critic, 
"the father is the man who shouts." How 
the club-bore must shout when he is in his 
own castle, surrounded only by his trembling 
kindred and anxious retainers \ In his castle 
there is no one to resist or criticise him — 
unless indeed his wife happen to be a lady, 
like Clytemnestra, of masculine resolution. 
In that case the arbitrary gent may be a 
father of a family who is not allowed to shout 
at home, but is obliged to give nature free 
play by shouting abroad. 

There are plenty of other club-bores besides 
the man who rates these generally affable and 
well-behaved persons, the club servants. One 
of the worst is the man whom you never see 
anywhere except at the club, and whom you 
never fail to see there. It is bad enough 
when you have no acquaintance with him. 
Murders have probably been committed by 
sensitive persons for no better reason (often 
for worse reasons) than that they arc tired 



CLUB BORES. 117 

of seeing some one else going about. His 
voice, his manner, his cough, especially his 
cough, become unendurable. People who 
cough in clubs are generally amateurs of the 
art. They are huskier, more wheezing, more 
pertinacious in working away at a cough till 
they have made it a masterpiece than any 
other mortals. We believe that club Asth- 
mats (it is quite as good a word as "Es- 
thetes") practise in the Reading Room of 
the British Museum, where they acquire their 
extraordinary compass and mastery of various 
notes. Be this as it may, the cough which 
drives every one but its owner out of the 
room (though doubtless an affliction to the 
proprietor) gives him rank as a club-bore of 
the finest water. The bore who always enters 
into conversation, though he has nothing to 
say, merely because you used to dislike him 
at school, or college, or elsewhere, is another 
common annoyance. The man who is en- 
gaged, apparently, on a large work, and who 
rushes about the library hunting for Proclus 
and Jamblichus when other occupants of the 
room wish to be quiet, is naturally detested. 

Most men are the bores of some other person. 
People of watchful mind and intelligent habit, 



iiS LOST LEADERS. 

who talk in the drawing-room, are regarded 
as bores by fat old gentlemen who wish to 
sleep there. And as these gentlemen turn 
the drawing-room into a dormitory, which 
resounds with their snoring, they in turn 
are bores to people who wish to read the 
papers. But if these students drop the poker 
with a clang, or dash down small tables in 
order to waken the sleepers, they, in their 
turn, give a good deal of annoyance. The 
man who talks about politics at great length, 
is only one of the common bores of the world 
transported into a club. But the man with 
a voice which in ordinary conversation pierces 
through all the hum of voices, like a clarion 
note in battle, would be a bore anywhere. If 
he were in the wilderness of Sinai, he would 
annoy the monks in the convent near the top. 
His voice is one of those terrible, inscrutable 
scourges of nature, like the earthquake and 
the mosquito, which tax our poor human 
wisdom to reconcile with any monistic theory 
of the benevolent government of the universe. 
Once admit an evil principle, however, and 
the thing is clear. The club-bore with the 
trumpet tones, which he cannot moderate, is 
possessed, on this theory, by a fiend. As men 



CLUB BORES. 1 19 

are talking quietly of turnips in one corner of 
the room, of rent in another, and of racing in 
a third, his awful notes blend in from the 
fourth corner with strident remarks on Bul- 
garian philology. 

The ancient Greeks were well accustomed 
to club life, for each of their little cities was 
only a large club. They had, therefore, to 
deal with the problem of bores. Some of 
them, consequently, had ^the institution of 
annually devoting to the infernal gods the 
most unpopular citizens. These persons were 
called catharmata^ which may be freely 
translated "scapegoats." Could not clubs 
annually devote one or more scapebores to the 
infernal gods } They might ballot for them, 
of course, on some merciful and lenient 
principle. One white ball in ten or twenty 
black ones might enable the bore to keep his 
membership for the next year. The warning, 
if he only escaped this species of ostracism 
very narrowly, might do him a great deal of 
moral good. Of course the process would be 
unpleasant, but it is seldom agreeable to be 
done good to. Occasionally even the most 
good-natured members would stand apart, 
not voting, or even would place the black ball 



I20 LOST LEADERS. 

in the mystic urn. Then the scapebore 
would have his subscription returned to him, 
and would be obliged to seek in other haunts 
servants to swear at, and sofas to snore on. 
Another suggestion, that members should be 
balloted for anew every five years, would 
simply cause clubs to be depopulated. Pall- 
Mall and St. James's would be desolate, 
mourning their children, and refusing comfort. 
The system would act like a proscription. 
People would give up their friends that they 
might purchase aid against their enemies. 
Clubs are more endurable as they are, though 
members do suffer grievously from the gar- 
rulity, the coughs, the slumbrous tendencies, 
and the temper of their fellow-men. 



( 121 ) 



PHIZ. 

Mr. Hablot K. Browne, better known as 
Phiz, was an artist of a departed school to 
whom we all owe a great deal of amusement. 
He was not so versatile nor so original as 
Cruickshank ; he had not the genius, nor the 
geniality, still less the sense of beauty, of 
John Leech. In his later years his work 
became more and more unequal, till he was 
sometimes almost as apt to scribble hasty 
scrawls as Constantin Guys. M. Guys was 
an artist selected by M. Baudelaire as the 
fine flower of modern art, and the true, though 
hurried, designer of the fugitive modern 
beauty. It is recorded that M. Guys was 
once sent to draw a scene of triumph and 
certain illuminations in London, probably 
about the end of the Crimean War. His 
sketch did not reach the office of the paper 
for which he worked in time, and some one 



122 LOST LEADERS. 

went to see what the man of genius was 
doing. He was found in bed, but he was 
equal to the occasion. Snatching a sheet of 
paper and a pencil he drew a curve. " There," 
said he, "is the triumphal arch, and here" 
— scribbling a number of scratches like eccen- 
tric comets — "here are the fireworks." Mr. 
Browne's drawings occasionally showed a 
tendency to approach the rudimentary sort of 
"pictograph" rather than give what a dramatic 
critic calls "a solid and studied render- 
ing" of events. But many of Mr. Browne's 
illustrations of Dickens are immortal. They 
are closely bound up with our earliest and 
latest recollections of the work of the " incom- 
parable Boz." Mr. Pickwick, we believe, was 
not wholly due to the fancy of Mr. Browne, 
but of the unfortunate Seymour, whom death 
prevented from continuing the series. Every 
one has heard how Mr. Thackeray, then an 
unknown man, wished to illustrate one of 
Mr. Dickens's early stories, and brought Mr. 
Dickens examples of his skill. Fortunately, 
his offer was not accepted. Mr. Thackeray's 
pencil was the proper ally of his pen. He 
saw and drew Costigan, Becky, Emmy, Lord 
Steyne, as no one else could have drawn 



PHIZ. 123 

them. But he had not beheld the creations 
of Boz in the same light of imaginative vision. 
Sometimes, too, it must be allowed that Mr. 
Thackeray drew very badly. His " Peg of 
Limavaddy," in the " Irish Sketch Book," is 
a most formless lady, and by no means 
justifies the enthusiasm of her poet. Thus 
the task of illustrating "Pickwick" fell to 
Mr. Browne, and he carried on the con- 
ceptions of his predecessor with extraordinary 
vigour. The old vein of exaggerated carica- 
ture he inherited from the taste of an elder 
•generation. But making allowance for the 
exaggeration, what can be better than Mr. 
Pickwick sliding, or the awful punishment 
of Stiggins at the hands of the long-suffering 
Weller? We might wish that the young 
lady in fur-topped boots was prettier, and 
indeed more of a lady. But Mr. Browne 
never had much, success, we think, in drawing 
pretty faces. He tried to improve in this re- 
spect, but either his girls had little character, 
or the standard of female beauty has altered. 
As to this latter change, there can be no 
doubt at all. Leech's girls are not like 
Thackeray's early pictures of women ; and 
Mr. Du Maurier's are sometimes sicklied 
o'er with the pale cast of an aesthetic period. 



124 LOST LEADERS. 

It is probable that the influence of Mr, 
Browne's art reacted in some degree on 
Dickens. In the old times every one whom 
the author invented the artist was pretty cer- 
tain to caricature. Thus the author may have 
felt the temptation to keep pace with the frolic 
humour of the artist. Mr. Browne cannot be 
blamed for a tendency to exaggerate noses 
and other features, which was almost universal 
in his time. None of us can say what con- 
ception would now be entertained of Dickens's 
characters if Mr. Browne had not drawn them. 
In the later works of Dickens (when they 
were illustrated) other artists were employed, 
as Mr. Stone and Mr. Fildes. These are 
accomplished painters of established reputa- 
tion, and they of course avoided the old system 
of caricature, the old forced humour. But we 
doubt whether their designs are so intimately 
associated with the persons in the stories as 
are the designs of Mr. Browne. The later 
artists had this disadvantage, that the later 
novels (except "Great Expectations," which 
was not illustrated) were neither so good nor 
so popular as " Pickwick," " Nicholas Nickle- 
by," "Martin Chuzzlewit," "David Copper- 
field," or even " Bleak House." We neve can 



PHIZ. 125 

have any Mr. Micawber but Phiz's indescri- 
bably jaunty Micawber. His Mr. Pecksniff is 
not very like a human being, but his collars 
and his eye-glass redeem him, and after all 
Pecksniff is a transcendental and incredible 
Tartuffe. Tom Pinch is even less sympa- 
thetic in the drawings than in the novel. 
Jonas Chuzzlewit is also "too steep," as a 
modern critic has said in modern slang. But 
in the novel, too, Mr. Jonas is somewhat pre- 
cipitous. Nicholas Nickleby is a colourless 
sort of young man in the illustrations, but 
then he is not very vividly presented in the 
text. Ralph Nickleby and Arthur Gride 
may pair off with Jonas Chuzzlewit, but who 
can disparage the immortal Mr. Squeers } 
From the first moment when we see him at 
his inn, with the starveling little boys, through 
all the story, Mr. Squeers is consistently 
exquisite. In spite of his cruelty, coarseness, 
hypocrisy, there is a kind of humour in Mr. 
Squeers which makes him not quite detestable. 
In "David Copperfield" Mr. Micawber is 
perhaps the only artistic creation of much 
permanent merit, unless it be the waiter who 
consumed David's dinner, and the landlady 
who gave him a pint of the Regular Stunning. 



125 LOST LEADERS. 

In " Bleak House " Mr. Browne made some 
credible attempts to be tragic and pathetic. 
Jo is remembered, and the gateway of the 
churchyard where the rats were, and the 
Ghost's Walk in the gloomy domain of Lady 
Dedlock. 

It is a singular and gloomy feature in the 
character of young ladies and gentlemen of a 
particular type that they have ceased to care 
for Dickens, as they have ceased to care for 
Scott. They say they cannot read Dickens. 
When Mr. Pickwick's adventures are pre- 
sented to the modern maid, she behaves like 
the Cambridge freshman. "Euclide viso, 
cohorruit et evasit." When he was shown 
Euclid he evinced dismay, and sneaked off. 
Even so do most young people act when they 
are expected to read "Nicholas Nickleby'* 
and "Martin Chuzzlewit." They call these 
masterpieces " too gutterly gutter ; " they can- 
not sympathize with this honest humour and 
conscious pathos. Consequently the innu- 
merable references to Sam Weller, and Mrs. 
Gamp, and Mr. Pecksniff, and Mr. Winkle 
which fill our ephemeral literature are written 
for these persons in an unknown tongue. 
The number of people who could take a 



PHIZ. 127 

good pass in Mr. Calverley's Pickwick Ex- 
amination Paper is said to be diminishing. 
Pathetic questions are sometimes put. Are 
we not too much cultivated? Can this fas- 
tidiousness be anything but a casual passing 
phase of taste? Are all people over thirty 
who cling to their Dickens and their Scott 
old fogies ? Are we wrong in preferring 
them to " Bootle's Baby," and " The Quick 
or the Dead," and the novels of M. Paul 
Bourget ? 



128 L0S7 LEADERS, 



THEORY AND PRACTICE OF 
PROPOSALS. 

There is no subject in the whole range of 
human affairs so interesting to a working 
majority of the race as the theory and prac- 
tice of proposals of marriage. Men perhaps 
cease to be very much concerned about the 
ordeal when they have been through it. 
But the topic never loses its charm for the 
fair, though they are presumed only to wait 
and to listen, and never to speak for them- 
selves. That this theory has its exceptions 
appears to be the conviction of many novel- 
ists. They not only make their young ladies 
" lead up to it," but heroines occasionally go 
much further than that, and do more than 
prompt an inexperienced wooer. But all 
these things are only known to the world 
through the confessions of novelists, who, 
perhaps, themselves receive confessions. M. 
Goncourt not long ago requested all his fair 



THEORY AND PRACTICE OF PROPOSALS. 129 

readers to send him notes of their own 
private experience. How did you feel when 
you were confirmed ? How did Alphonse 
whisper his passion ? These and other ques- 
tions, quite as intimate, were set by M. Gon- 
court. He meant to use the answers, with 
all discreet reserve, in his next novel. Do 
English novelists receive any private infor- 
mation, and if they do not, how are we to 
reconcile their knowledge — they are all love- 
adepts — with the morality of their lives ? 
*'We live like other people, only more 
purely," says the author of " Some Private 
Views," which is all very well. No man is 
bound to incriminate himself. But as in 
the course of his career a successful novelist 
describes many hundreds of proposals, all 
different, are we to believe that he is so 
prompted merely by imagination ? Are there 
no " documents," as M. Zola says, for all this 
prodigious deal of love-making? These are 
questions which await a reply in the interests 
of ethics and of art. Meanwhile an editor 
of enterprise has selected five -and -thirty 
separate examples of " popping the question," 
as he calls it, from the tomes of British 
fiction. To begin with an early case — when 

K 



I30 LOST LEADERS. 

Tom Jones returned to his tolerant Sophia, 
he called her " Madam," and she called him 
" Mr. Jones," not Tom. She asked Thomas 
how she could rely on his constancy, when 
the lover of Miss Segrim drew a mirror from 
his pocket (like Strephon in " lolanthe "), and 
cried, " Behold that lovely figure, that shape, 
those eyes," with other compliments ; " can 
the man who shall be in possession of these 
be inconstant ? " Sophia was charmed by the 
" man in possession," but forced her features 
into a frown. Presently Thomas " caught her 
in his arms," and the rest was in accordance 
with what Mr. Trollope and the best authorities 
recommend. How differently did Arthur 
Pendennis carry himself when he proposed to 
Laura, and did not want to be accepted ! 
Lord Farintosh — his affecting adventure is 
published here — proposed nicely enough, but 
did not behave at all well when he was 
rejected. By the way, when young men in 
novels are not accepted, they invariably ask 
the lady whether she loves another. Only 
young ladies, and young men whom they have 
rejected, know whether this is common in 
real life. It does not seem quite right. 

Kneeling has probably gone out, though 



THEORY AND PRACTICE OF PROPOSALS. 131 

Mr. Jingle knelt before the maiden aunt, 
and remained in that attitude for no less 
than five minutes. In Mr. Howell's " Modern 
Instance," kneeling was not necessary, and 
the heroine kept thrusting her face into her 
lover's necktie ; so the author tells us. M. 
Theophile Gautier says that ladies invari- 
ably lay their heads on the shoulder of 
the man who proposes (if he is the right 
man), and for this piece of " business " (as 
we regret to say he considers it) he assigns 
various motives. But he was a Frenchman, 
and the cynicism of that nation (to parody 
a speech of Tom Jones's) cannot understand 
the delicacy of ours. Mr. Blackmore (in 
" Lorna Doone ") lets his lover make quite 
a neat and appropriate speech, but that was 
in the seventeenth century. When Artemus 
Ward began a harangue of this sort, Betsy 
Jane knocked him off the fence on which he 
was sitting, and first criticising his eloquence 
in a trenchant style, added, " If you mean 
being hitched, I'm in it." In other respects 
the lover of Lorna Doone behaved as the 
best authorities recommend. 

Mr. Whyte Melville ventured to describe 
Chastelard's proposal to Mary Stuart, but it 



132 LOST LEADERS. 

was not exactly in Mr. Swinburne's manner, 
and, where historical opinions disagree, no 
reliance can be placed on speeches which 
were not taken down by the intelligent 
reporters. Mr. Slope had his ears boxed 
when he proposed to Mrs. Bold, but such 
Amazonian conduct is probably rare, and 
neither party is apt to boast of it. He 
also, being accepted, behaved in the manner 
to which the highest authorities have lent 
their sanction, or, at least, he meant to do 
so, when the lady "fled like a roe to her 
chamber." For all widows are not like 
widow Malone (ochone !) renowned in song. 
When Arbaces, the magician, proposed to 
lone, he did so in the most necromantic and 
hierophantic manner in which it could be done ; 
his "properties" including a statue of Isis, 
an altar, " and a quick, blue, darting, irregular 
flame." But his flame, quick, blue, darting, 
and irregular as it was, lighted no answering 
blaze in the ice-cold breast of the lovely lone. 
When rejected (in spite of a splendid arrange- 
ment of magic lanterns, then a novelty, got 
up regardless of expense) Arbaces swore like 
an intoxicated mariner, rather than a necro- 
maunt accustomed to move in the highest 



THEORY AND PRACTICE OF PROPOSALS. 133 

circles and pentacles. Nancy, Miss Brough- 
ton's heroine, tells her middle-aged wooer, 
among other things, that she accepts him, 
because " I did think it would be nice for the 
boys ; but I like you myself, besides." After 
this ardent confession, he "kissed her with 
a sort of diffidence." Many men would have 
preferred to go out and kick " the boys." 

Mr. Rochester's proposal to Jane Eyre 
should be read in the works both of Bret 
Harte and of Miss Bronte. We own that 
we prefer Bret Harte's Mr. Rawj ester, who 
wearily ran the poker through his hair, and 
wiped his boots on the dress of his beloved. 
Even in the original authority, Mr. Rochester 
conducted himself rather like a wild beast. 
He " ground his teeth," "he seemed to devour" 
Miss Eyre "with his flaming glance." Miss 
Eyre behaved with sense. " I retired to the 
door." Proposals of this desperate and homi- 
cidal character are probably rare in real life, 
or, at least, out of lunatic asylums. To be sure, 
Mr. Rochester's house was a kind of lunatic 
asylum. 

Adam Bede's proposal to Dinah was a very 
thoughtful, earnest proposal. John Inglesant 
himself could not have been less like that 



134 LOST LEADERS, 

victorious rascal, Tom Jones. Colonel Jack, 
on the other hand, " used no great ceremony." 
But Colonel Jack, like the woman of Samaria 
in the Scotch minister's sermon, " had enjoyed 
a large and rich matrimonial experience," and 
went straight to the point, being married the 
very day of his successful wooing. Some 
one in a story of Mr. Wilkie Collins's asks 
the fatal question at a croquet party. At 
lawn-tennis, as Nimrod said long ago, "the 
pace is too good to inquire " into matters of 
the affections. In Sir Walter's golden prime, 
or rather in the Forty-five as Sir Walter 
understood it, ladies were in no hurry, and 
could select elegant expressions. Thus did 
Flora reply to Waverley, " I can but explain 
to you with candour the feelings which I 
now entertain ; how they might be altered 
by a train of circumstances too favourable, 
perhaps, to be hoped for, it were in vain 
even to conjecture ; only be assured, Mr. 
Waverley, that after my brother's honour 
and happiness, there is none which I shall 
more sincerely pray for than yours." This 
love is indeed what Sidney Smith heard the 
Scotch lady call "love in the abstract." 
Mr. Kingsley's Tom Thurnall somehow pro- 



THEORY AND PRACTICE OF PROPOSALS. 13S 

posed, was accepted, and was " converted " all 
at once — a more complex erototheological 
performance was never heard of before. 

Many of Mr. Abell's thirty-five cases are 
selected from novelists of no great mark ; it 
would have been more instructive to examine 
only the treatment of the great masters of 
romance. But, after all, this is of little 
consequence. All day long and every day 
novelists are teaching the " Art of Love," and 
playing Ovid to the time. But what are 
novels without love ? Mere waste paper, only 
fit to be reduced to pulp, and restored to a 
whiteness and firmness on which more love 
lessons may be written.* 

* These remarks were made before the great discovery of 
some modern authors, that the best novels are those in 
which there is never a petticoat. 



LOST LEADERS. 



MASTER SAMUEL PEPYS. 

No man is a hero to his valet, and unluckily 
Samuel Pepys, by way of a valet, chose pos- 
terity. All the trifles of temper, habit, vice, 
and social ways which a keen-eyed valet 
may observe in his master Samuel Pepys 
carefully recorded about himself, and be- 
queathed to the diversion of future genera- 
tions. The world knows Pepys as the only 
man who ever wrote honest confessions, for 
Rousseau could not possibly be candid for 
five minutes together, and St. Augustine 
was heavily handicapped by being a saint. 
Samuel Pepys was no saint. We might best 
define him, perhaps, by saying that if ever 
any man was his own Boswell, that man was 
Samuel Pepys. He had Bozzy's delightful 
appreciation of life ; writing in cypher, he 
had Bozzy's shamelessness and more, and he 
was his own hero. 



MASTER SAMUEL PEPYS. 137 

It is for these qualities and achievements 
that he received a monument honoured in 
St. Olave's, his favourite church. In St. 
Olave's, on December 23, 1660, Samuel 
went to pray, and had his pew all covered 
with rosemary and baize. Thence he went 
home, and "with much ado made haste to 
spit a turkey." Here, in St. Olave's, he 
listened to " a dull sermon from a stranger." 
Here, when " a Scot " preached, Pepys " slept 
all the sermon," as a man who could " never 
be reconciled to the voice of the Scot." 
What an unworthy prejudice ! Often he 
writes, " After a dull sermon of the Scotch- 
man, home ; " or to church again, " and there 
a simple coxcombe preached worse than the 
Scot." Frequently have the sacred walls of 
St Olave's, where his efifigy may be seen, 
echoed to the honest snoring of the Clerk of 
the Navy. There Pepys lies now, his body 
having been brought " in a very honourable 
and solemn manner," from Clapham, where, 
according to that respected sheet, the Post-boy^ 
he expired on May 26, 1703. No stone 
marked the spot, when Mr. Mynors Bright's 
delightful edition of Pepys was published in 

1875. 



138 LOST LEADERS. 

Now Pepys is honoured in that church 
where he sleeps even sounder than in days 
when the Scot preached worse than usual. 
But he is rewarded in death — not, it may be 
feared, for his real services to England, but 
because he has amused us all so much. A 
dead humorist may be better than a living 
official, however honest, industrious, and 
careful. 

In all these higher things Pepys was not 
found wanting. The son of a tailor in the 
City, he yet had connections of good family, 
who were of service to him when he entered 
public life. Samuel Pepys was born in 1632. 
He was educated at Magdalene, Cambridge 
where he was once common-roomed for 
being " scandalously overserved with liquor." 
Through life he retained a friendly admira- 
tion of Magdalene strong ale. He married a 
girl of fifteen when he was but twenty-two ; 
he entered the service of the State shortly 
afterwards. He was the Chief Secretary for 
Naval Affairs during many years ; he de- 
fended his department at the Bar of the 
House of Commons after De Ruyter's 
attack in 1668, and he remained true to the 
Stuart dynasty in heart after James was 



MASTER SAMUEL PEPYS. 139 

driven abroad. Yet, though his contemporary 
biographer calls Pepys the greatest and most 
useful public servant that ever filled the same 
situations in England, Pepys would not now 
be honoured if he had not kept the most 
amusing diary in the world. Samuel was a 
highly conscientious, truly pious man, con- 
stant in all religious exercises, though he did 
slumber when the Scot wagged his pow in a 
pulpit. At the same time, Samuel lived in a 
very fast age, an age when pleasure was 
a business, and "old Rowley, the king," led 
the brawls. He was young when society 
was most scandalously diverting. He had a 
pretty wife, " poor wretch," of whom he stood 
in some awe ; and yet this inconsistent naval 
secretary liked to flit from flower to flower. 
He was vain, greedy, wanton, fond of the 
delight of the eye and the pride of life ; he 
was loving and loose in his manners ; he was 
pious, repentant, profligate ; and he deliber- 
ately told the whole tale of all his many 
changes of mood and mistress, of piety and 
pleasure. One cannot open Pepys at ran- 
dom without finding him at his delightful 
old games. On the Lord's day he goes to 
church with Mr. Creed, and hears a good 



140 LOST LEADERS, 

sermon from the red-faced parson. He came 
home, read divinity, dined, and, he says, 
"played the fool," and won a quart of sack 
from Mr. Creed. Then to supper at the 
Banquet House, and there Mr. Pepys and his 
wife fell to quarrelling over the beauty of 
Mrs. Pierce; "she against, and I for," says 
superfluous Pepys. No one is in the least 
likely to suspect that Mrs. Pepys was angry 
with her lord because he did not think Mrs. 
Pierce a beauty. 

How living the whole story is ! One can 
smell the flowers of that Sunday in May, 
and the roast beef The sack seems but 
newly drawn, the red cheeks of Mrs. Pierce 
as fresh as ever. The flowers grow over 
them now, or the church floor covers them ; 
the sack is drunk, the roast beef is eaten, 
the quarrel is over ; the beauty and the 
red-faced parson, the husband and wife, 
they are all with Tullus and Ancus. Pidvis 
et lunbra — that is the moral of " Pepys's 
Diary." Life yet lives so strong in the 
cyphered pages ; all the colour, all the mirth, 
all the little troubles and sins, and vows, 
they are so real they might be of yesterday 
or to-day, but the end of them came nigh 



MASTER SAMUEL PEPYS. 141 

two hundred years ago. Therefore, to read 
Pepys is to enjoy our own brief innings 
better, as men who know that our March is 
passing where Pepys' May has flown before, 
and that we shall soon be with him and his 
wife, and the Scot, and the red-faced parson. 
So fleeting is life, whose record outlives it for 
ever ; so brief, so swift, so faint the joys and 
sorrows, and all that we make marvel of in 
our own fortunes and those of other men. 

Reading Pepys is thus like reading Mon- 
taigne, whose cheery scepticism his revelations 
recall. But Pepys has all the advantage of 
the man living in the busiest world over the 
recluse in that famed library, with the mottoes 
on the wall. Montaigne wrote in a retired 
and contemplative home, viewing life, as 
Osman Digna has viewed strife, " from afar," 
almost safe from the shots of fortune. But 
Pepys writes day by day, like a war corre- 
spondent, in the thick of the battle ; his 
head " full of business," as he declares ; his 
heart full of many desires, many covetings, 
much pride in matters that look small 
enough. He notes how, by chewing tobacco, 
Mr. Chetwynde, who was consumptive, 
became very fat. He remarks how a board 



142 LOST LEADERS. 

fell, and the dust powdered the ladles' heads 
at the play, "which made good sport." He 
records every venison-pasty, every flagon of 
wine, every pretty wench whom he en- 
countered in his march through his youth 
towards the vault in St. Olave's. He is 
vexed with Mrs. Pepys and troubled by 
" my aunt's base ugly humours." He is 
"full of repentance," like the Bad Man in 
the Ethics, and thinks how much he is ad- 
dicted to expense and pleasure, " so that now 
I can hardly reclaim myself." He interests 
himself in Dr. Williams's remarkable dog, 
which not only killed cats, but buried them 
with punctilious obsequies, never leaving the 
tip of puss's tail out of the ground. Then 
he goes to the play, "after swearing to my 
wife that I would never go to the play with- 
out her." He remembers one night that he 
passed " with the greatest epicurism of sleep," 
because he was often disturbed, and so got 
out of sleeping more conscious enjoyment. 
Now he sleeps what Socrates calls the 
sweetest slumber of all, if it be but dream- 
less, or, somewhere, he enjoys all new experi- 
ence, with the lusty appetite of old. 



C 143 ) 



INVOLUNTARY BAILEES. 

Lord Tennyson is probably the most ex- 
tensive Involuntary Bailee at present living. 
The term " Involuntary Bailee " may or may 
not be a correct piece of legal terminology ; 
at all events, it sounds very imposing, and 
can be easily explained. 

An Involuntary Bailee is a person to whom 
people (generally unknown to him) send 
things which he does not wish to receive 
but which they are anxious to have returned. 
Most of us in our humble way are or have 
been Involuntary Bailees. When some one 
you meet at dinner recommends to your 
notice a book (generally of verse), and kindly 
insists on sending it to you next day by 
post as a loan, you are an Involuntary Bailee. 
You have the wretched book in your posses- 
sion ; no inducement would make you read 
it, and to pack it up and send it back again 



144 ' LOST LEADERS. 

requires a piece of string, energy, brown 
paper, and stamps enough to defray the 
postage. Now, surely no casual acquaintance 
or neighbour for an hour at a dinner-party 
has any right thus to make demands on a 
man's energy, money, time, brown paper, 
string, and other capital and commodities. 

If the book be sent as a present, the crime 
is less black, though still very culpable. You 
need take no notice of the present, whereby 
you probably offend the author for life, and 
thus get rid of him anyhow. Commonly, he 
is a minor poet, and sends you his tragedy 
on John Huss; or he is a writer on mytho- 
logical subjects, and is anxious to weary you 
with a theory that Jack the Giant Killer was 
Julius Caesar. At the worst, you can toss his 
gift into the waste-paper basket, or sell it for 
fourpence three-farthings, or set it on your 
bookshelf so as to keep the damp away from 
books of which you are not the Involuntary 
Bailee, but the unhappy purchaser. The 
case becomes truly black, as we have said, 
when the uncalled-for tribute has to be 
returned. Then it is sure to be lost, when the 
lender writes to say he wishes to recover it. 
In future he will go about telling people that 



INVOLUNTARY BAILEES. 145 

the recipient stole his best ideas from the 
manuscript (if it was a manuscript) which 
he pretends to have lost. 

Lord Tennyson has suffered from all these 
troubles to an extent which the average Bailee 
can only fancy by looking with his mind's 
eye through "patent double million magni- 
fiers." A man so eminent as the Laureate 
is the butt of all the miserable minor poets, 
all the enthusiastic school-girls, all the auto- 
graph-hunters, all the begging-letter writers, 
all the ambitious young tragedians, and all 
the utterly unheard-of and imaginary rela- 
tions in Kamschatka or Vancouver's Island 
with whom the wide world teems. Lord 
Tennyson has endured these people for some 
fifty years, and now he takes a decided line. 
He will not answer their letters, nor return 
their manuscripts. 

Lord Tennyson is perfectly right to assume 
this attitude, only it makes life even more 
hideous than of old to Mr. Browning and 
Mr. Swinburne. Probably these distinguished 
writers are already sufficiently pestered by 
the Mr. Tootses of this world, whose chief 
amusement is to address epistles to persons 
of distinction. Mr. Toots was believed to 



146 LOST LEADERS, 

answer his own letters himself, but the beings 
who fill Lord Tennyson's, and Mr. Glad- 
stone's, and probably Mr. Browning's letter- 
box expect to receive answers. Frightened 
away from Lord Tennyson's baronial portals, 
they will now crowd thicker than ever round 
the gates of other poets who have not yet 
announced that they will prove irresponsive. 
Cannot the Company of Authors (if that be 
the correct style and title) take this matter up 
and succour the profession t Next, of course, 
to the baneful publisher and the hopelessly 
indifferent public, most authors suffer more 
from no one than from the unknown corre- 
spondent. The unknown correspondent is 
very frequently of the fair sex, and her bright 
home is not unusually in the setting sun. 
" Dear Mr. Brown," she writes to some poor 
author who never heard of her, nor of Idaho, 
in the States, where she lives, "I cannot tell 
you how much I admire your monograph 
on Phonetic Decay in its influence on Logic. 
Please send me two copies with autograph 
inscriptions. I hope to see you at home when 
I visit Europe in the Fall." 

Every man of letters, however humble, is 
accustomed to these salutations, and probably 



INVOLUNTARY BAILEES. 147 

Lord Tennyson receives scores every morning 
at breakfast. Like all distinguished poets, 
like Scott certainly, we presume that he is 
annoyed with huge parcels of MSS. These 
(unless Lord Tennyson is more fortunate 
than other singers) he is asked to read, correct, 
and return with a carefully considered opinion 
as to the sender's chance of having " Assur 
ban-i-pal," a tragedy, accepted at the Gaiety 
Theatre. Rival but unheard-of bards will 
entreat him to use his influence to get their 
verses published. Others (all the world 
knows) will send him " spiteful letters," assur- 
ing him that "his fame in song has done 
them much wrong." How interesting it 
would be to ascertain the name of the author 
of that immortal " spiteful letter " ! Probably 
many persons have felt that they could make 
a good guess ; no less probably they have 
been mistaken. 

In no way can the recipient avoid making 
enemies of the authors of all these com- 
munications if he is at all an honest, irascible 
man. Mr. Dickens used to reply to total 
strangers, and to poets like Miss Ada Menken, 
with a dignified and sympathetic politeness 
which disarmed wrath. But he probably 



148 LOST LEADERS. 

thereby did but invite fresh trouble of the 
same kind. Mr. Thackeray (if a recently- 
published answer was a fair specimen) used 
to answer more briefly and brusquely. One 
thing is certain. No criticism not entirely 
laudatory, which the Involuntary Bailee may 
make of his correspondent's MS., will be 
accepted without remonstrance. Doubtless 
Lord Tennyson has at last chosen the only 
path of safety by declining to answer his 
unknown correspondents, or to return their 
rubbish, any more. 

Of course, it is a wholly different affair 

when the anonymous correspondent sends 

several brace of grouse, or a salmon of noble 

proportions, or rare old books bound by 

Derome, or a service of Worcester china with 

the square mark, or other tribute of that kind. 

Probably some dozen of rhymers sent Lord 

Tennyson amateur congratulatory odes when 

he was raised to the peerage. If he is at all 

like other poets, he would have preferred a 

few dozen of extremely curious old port, or 

a Villon published by Galiot du Pre, or a 

gold nugget, or some of the produce of the 

diamond mines, to any number of signed 

congratulations from total strangers. Actors 



INVOLUNTARY BAILEES. 149 

seem to receive nicer tributes than poets 
Two brace of grouse were thrown on the stage 
when Mr. Irving was acting in a northern 
town. This is as picturesque as, and a great 
deal more permanently enjoyable than, a 
shower of flowers and wreaths. Another day 
a lady threw a gold cross on the stage, and 
yet another enthusiast contributed rare books 
appropriately bound. These gifts will not, of 
course, be returned by a celebrity who respects 
himself; but they bless him who gives and 
him who takes, much more than tons of 
manuscript poetry, and thousands of entreaties 
for an autograph, and millions of announce- 
ments that the writer will be " proud to drink 
your honour's noble health." 



I50 LOST LEADERS. 



SUMMER NIGHTS, 

If the best of all ways of lengthening our 
days be to take a few hours from the night, 
many of us are involuntarily prolonging ex- 
istence at the present hour. Macbeth did not 
murder sleep more effectually than the hot 
weather does. At best, in the sultry nights, 
most people sleep what is called "a dog's 
sleep," and by no means the sleep of a lucky 
dog. As the old English writers say, taking 
a distinction which our language appears to 
have lost, we "rather slumber than sleep," 
waking often, and full of the foolishest of 
dreams. This condition of things probably 
affects politics and society more than the 
thoughtless suppose. If literature produced 
in the warm, airless fog of July be dull, who 
can marvel thereat? 

" Of all gods," says Pausanias, " Sleep is 
dearest to the Muses ; " and when the child 



SUMMER NIGHTS. 15! 

of the Muses does not get his regular nine 
hours' rest (which he fails to do in warm 
weather), then his verse and prose are certain 
to bear traces of his languor. It is true that 
all children of the Muses do not require about 
double the allowance of the saints. Five 
hours was all St. Jerome took, and probably 
Byron did not sleep much more during the 
season when he wrote " Childe Harold." The 
moderns who agree with the Locrians in 
erecting altars to Sleep, can only reply that 
probably " Childe Harold " would have been 
a better poem if Byron had kept more regular 
hours when he was composing it. So far 
they will, perhaps, have Mr. Swinburne with 
them, though that author also has Sung 
before Sunrise, when he would (if the wisdom 
of the ancients be correct) have been better 
employed in plucking the flower of sleep. 1 
Leaving literature, and looking at society, 
it is certain that the human temper is more 
lively, and more unkind things are said, in 
a sultry than in a temperate season. In the 
restless night-watches people have time to 
brood over small wrongs, and wax indignant 
over tiny slights and unoffered invitations. 
Perhaps politics, too, are apt to be more 



152 LOST LEADERS. 

rancorous in a " heated term." Man is very 
much what his hver makes him. 

Hot weather vexes the unrested soul in 
nothing more than this, that (Uke a revolution 
in Paris) it tempts the people to " go down 
into the streets." The streets are cooler, at 
least, than stuffy gas-lit rooms ; and if the 
public would only roam them in a contem- 
plative spirit, with eyes turned up to the 
peaceful constellations, the public might fall 
down an area now and then, but would not 
much disturb the neighbourhood. But the 
'Arry that walketh by night thinks of nothing 
less than admiring, with Kant, the starry 
heavens and the moral nature of man. He 
seeks his peers, and together in great bands 
they loiter or run, stopping to chaff each 
other, and to jeer at the passer-by. Their 
satire is monotonous in character, chiefly con- 
sisting of the words for using which the 
famous Mr. Budd beat the baker.* Now, the 
sultry weather makes it absolutely necessary 
to leave bedroom windows wide open, so that 
he who is courting sleep has all the advan- 
tage of studying the dialogue of the slums. 
These disturbances last till two in the morn- 

* What was this anecdote ? 



SUMMER NIGHTS. 153 

ing In some otherwise quiet districts near the 
river. When Battersea 'Arry has been "on 
the fly " in Chelsea, while Chelsea 'Arry has 
been pursuing pleasure in Battersea, the 
homeward-faring bands meet, about one in 
the morning, on the Embankment. Then 
does Cheyne Walk hear the amoebean dia- 
logues of strayed revellers, and knows not 
whether Battersea or Chelsea best deserves 
the pipe, the short black pipe, for which the 
rival swains compete in profanity and slang. 
In music, too, does this modern Dionysiac 
procession rejoice, and Kensington echoes 
like Cithseron when Pan was keeping his 
orgies there — Pan and the Theban nymphs. 
The music and the song of the London street 
Toamer is excessively harsh, crabbed, and 
tuneless. Almost as provoking it is, in a 
quiet way, when three or four quite harmless 
people meet under a bedroom window and 
converse in their usual tone of voice about 
their private affairs. 

These little gatherings sometimes seem as 
if they would never break up, and though 
the persons in the piece mean no harm, they 
are nearly as noxious to sleep as the loud 
musical water-side rough or public-house 



154 LOST LEADERS. 

loafer. Dogs, too, like men, seem to feel it 
incumbent on them to howl more than usual 
in hot weather, and to bay the moon with 
particular earnestness in July. No enemy of 
sleep is deadlier than a dear, good, affection- 
ate dog, whose owners 'next door have acci- 
dentally shut him out. The whole night long 
he bewails his loneliness, in accents charged 
with profound melancholy. The author of 
the " Amusement Philosophique " would have 
us believe that animals can speak. Nothing 
makes more for his opinion than the exquisite 
variety of lyrical howl in which a shut-out 
dog expresses every phrase of blighted affec- 
tion, incommunicable longing, and supreme 
despair. Somehow he never, literally never,, 
wakens his owners. He only keeps all the 
other people in a four-mile radius wide 
awake. Yet how few have the energy 
and public spirit to get up and go for that 
dog with sticks, umbrellas, and pieces of road- 
metal ! The most enterprising do little more 
than shout at him out of the window, or take 
long futile shots at him with bits of coal from 
the fireplace. When we have a Municipal 
Government of London, then, perhaps, mea- 
sures will be taken with dogs, and justice 



SUMMER NIGHTS, 155 

will be meted out to the owners of fowls. 
At present these' fiends in human shape can 
keep their detestable pets, and defy the 
menaces, as they have rejected the prayers, 
of their neighbours. The amount of pro- 
fanity, insanity, ill-health, and general misery 
which one rooster can cause is far beyond 
calculation. 

When London nights are intolerable, people 
think with longing of the cool, fragrant 
country, of the jasmine-muffled lattices, and 
the groups beneath the dreaming evening 
star. One dreams of coffee after dinner in the 
open air, as described in " In Memoriam ; " 
one longs for the cool, the hush, the quiet. 
But try the country on a July night. First 
you have trouble with all the great, big, 
hairy, leathery moths and bats which fly in 
at the jasmine-muffled lattice, and endeavour 
to put out your candle. You blow the candle 
out, and then a bluebottle fly in good voice 
comes out too, and is accompanied by very 
fair imitations of mosquitoes. Probably they 
are only gnats, but in blowing their terrible 
little trumpets they are of the mosquito kind. 
Next the fact dawns on you that the church 
clock in the neighbouring spire strikes the 



156 LOST LEADERS. 

quarters, and you know that you cannot fall 
asleep before the chime wakes you up again, 
with its warning, "Another quarter gone." 
The cocks come forth and crow about four ; 
the hens proclaim to a drowsy world that 
they have fulfilled the duties of maternity. 
All through the ambrosial night three cows, 
in the meadow under your windows, have 
been lamenting the loss of their calves. Of 
all terrible notes, the " routing " of a be- 
reaved, or amorous, or homesick cow is 
the most disturbing. It carries for miles, 
and keeps all who hear it — all town-bred 
folk, at least — far from the land of Nod. At 
dawn the song-birds begin, and hold you 
awake, as they disturbed Rufinus long ago ; 
but the odds are that they do not inspire you, 
like Rufinus, with the desire to write poetry. 
The short and simple language of profanity 
is more likely to come unbidden to the 
wakeful lips. Thus, as John Leech found 
out, the country in July is almost as dreadful 
at night as the town. Nay, thanks to the 
cow, we think the country may bear away 
the prize for all that is uncomfortable, all 
that is hostile to sleep and the Muses. Yet 
rustics always sleep very well, and no more 



SUMMER NIGHTS. 157 

mind the noise of cocks, sparrows, cows, dogs, 
and ducks than the owner of a town-bred 
dog minds when his faithful hound drives a 
whole street beyond their patience. It is a 
matter of sound health and untaxed brains. 
If we always gave our minds a rest, none of 
us would dread the noises of the nights of 
summer. 



icS LOST LEADERS. 



ON HYPOCHONDRIACS, 

A NICE state we are in, according to the 
Medical Times. If the secrets of our " case- 
books " — that is, we suppose, our medical 
dossiers, doctors' records of the condition 
of their patients — could be revealed, it 
would be shown that many clever people 
have a fancy skeleton in their cupboards. 
By a fancy skeleton we mean, not some 
dismal secret of crime or shame, but a me- 
lancholy and apprehensiveness without any 
ground in outward facts. With the real 
skeleton doctors have nothing to do. He 
rather belongs to the province of Scotland 
Yard. If a man has compromised himself 
in some way, if he has been found out by 
some scoundrel, if he is compelled to " sing," 
as the French say, or to pay "blackmail," 
then the doctor is not concerned in the busi- 
ness. A detective, a revolver, or a well- 



ON HYPOCHONDRIACS. 159 

planned secret flight may be prescribed to 
the victim. Other real skeletons men possess 
which do not come of their own misdeeds. 
One of their friends or one of their family- 
may be the skeleton, or the consciousness of 
coming and veritable misfortune, pecuniary 
or what-not. But the Medical TimeSy which 
no doubt ought to know, refers purely to 
cases of vague melancholy and hypochondriac 
foreboding. Apparently "The Spleen," the 
*' English Disease," is as bad now as when 
Green wrote in verse and Dr. Cheyne in 
prose. Prosperous business men, literary 
gents in active employment, artists, students, 
tradesmen, "are all visited by melancholy, 
revealed only to their doctors, and sometimes 
to their domestic circle." 

Unhappy domestic circle, brooded over by 
a gloomy parent, who thinks that life is too 
short, or faith too much a matter of specula- 
tion, or that the country is going to the dogs ! 
Then the doctor, it seems, hears his patient, 
and recommends him only to drink a very 
little whisky and potash water, or to take 
two bottles of port every day, or to take to 
angling, or to give up smoking, or to work 
less or to work more, or to go to bed early 



l6o LOST LEADERS. 

or to get up late, or to ride, or to fence, or to- 
play golf, or to go to Upper Egypt or the 
Engadine, or anything that fancy may dictate 
and opportunity suggest. So the kind phy« 
sician advises his mournful self-tormentor, 
and then he himself flies round the corner 
and consults some brother-healer about his 
own subjective gloom. 

Old ladies, in speaking of the misdeeds 
of youth, are apt to recommend "a good 
shaking" as a panacea. Really those victims 
of whom our contemporary speaks, appear to 
be persons on whom "a good shaking," mental 
or physical, would produce a salutary effects 
Cowardice, vanity, overweening self-conscious- 
ness, are the causes of most melancholy. No 
doubt it has physical causes too. Dr. John- 
son suffered, — one of the best and bravest of 
men. But most of us suffer — if suffer we da 
■ — because we over-estimate ourselves and our 
own importance. Mr. Matthew Arnold has 
tried to enforce this lesson. After a horrible 
murder in a railway carriage, Mr. Arnold 
observed, with pain, the " almost bloodthirsty 
clinging to life " of his fellow-passengers. In 
vain he pointed out to them that even if they 
were to depart, "the great mundane move- 



ON HYPOCHONDRIACS. i6i 

ment " would go on as usual. But they re- 
fused to be comforted. Every man was 
afraid of meeting his own Miiller ; and as to 
the great mundane movement, no one cared 
a pin. This selfishness is among the chief 
causes of melancholy. A man persuades 
himself that he will not live long, or that 
his prospects in this world or the next 
are gloomy ; or he takes views as absurdly 
far-reaching as those of the spinsters in the 
old tale, who wept over the hypothetical 
fate of the child one of them might have 
had if she had been married. Now, there 
is a certain melancholy not unbecoming 
a man ; indeed, to be without it is hardly 
to be human. Here we do find ourselves, 
indeed, like the shipwrecked mariner on the 
isle of Pascal's apologue ; all around us are 
the unknown seas, all about us are the in- 
domitable and eternal processes of genera- 
tion and corruption. " We come like water, 
and like wind we go." Life is, indeed, as 
the great Persian says — 

" A moment's halt, a momentary taste 
Of being from the well beside the waste." 

These just causes of melancholy and of awe 
have presented themselves to all reflective 

M 



i62 LOST LEADERS, 

men at all times. They deeply affect the 
thought, so wholesome and so human, of 
Homer. They express themselves in that 
old English pagan's allegory of the bird that 
flies from the dark into the warm and lighted 
hall, and from the hall into the dark again. 
Not to be capable of these reflections is to be 
incapable of tasting the noblest poetry. Such 
thoughts actually give zest to our days, and 
sharpen our enjoyment of that which we have 
only a brief moment to enjoy. Such thoughts 
add their own sweetness and sadness to the 
song of the nightingale, to the fall of the 
leaves, to the coming of the spring. Were 
we "exempt from eld and age," this noble 
melancholy could never be ours, and we, like 
the ancient classical gods, would be incapable 
of tears. What Prometheus says in Mr. 
Bridge's poem is true — 

" Not in heaven, 
Among our easy gods, hath facile time 
A touch so keen to wake such love of life 
As stirs the frail and careful being of Man." 

Such are the benefits of Melancholy, when 
she is only an occasional guest, and is not 
pampered or made the object of devotion 
But Melancholy, though an excellent com- 



ON HYPOCHONDRIACS. 163 

panlon for an hour, is the most exacting and 
depressing of mistresses. The man who 
gives himself up to her, who always takes too 
long views, who broods on the future of this 
planet when the sun has burned out, is on 
the high-way to madness. The odds are 
that he does not travel all the way. He 
remains a self-tormented wretch, highly pro- 
fitable to his medical man, and a frightful 
nuisance to his family. Now, there are, of 
course, cases in which this melancholy has 
physical causes. It may come of indigestion, 
and then the remedy is known. Less dining 
out (indeed, no one will ask the abjectly 
melancholy man out) and more exercise may 
be recommended. The melancholy man had 
better take to angling ; it is a contemplative 
pastime, but he will find it far from a gloomy 
one. The sounds and sights of nature will 
revive and relieve him, and, if he is only suc- 
cessful, the weight of a few pounds of fish on 
his back will make him toss off that burden 
which poor Christian carried out of the 
City of Destruction. No man can be melan- 
choly when the south wind blows in spring, 
when the soft, feathery March-browns flit 
from the alders and fall in the water, while 



i64 LOST LEADERS. 

the surface boils with the heads and tails of 
trout. 

Perhaps, on the other hand, the melancholy 
one lives too much in the country. Then let 
him go to Paris or Vienna ; let him try the 
Palais Royal, and spend a good deal of 
money in the shops. A course of this might 
have cured even Obermann, whom there was 
nothing to check or divert while he kept 
philandering on the mountains with the snows 
and his woes. There are plenty of such cures 
for a melancholy not yet incurable ; change 
of air, scene, food, amusement, and occupa- 
tion being the best. True, the Romans tried 
this, as Seneca and Lucretius tells us, and 
found themselves as much bored as ever. 
"No easier nor no quicker passed th' im- 
practicable hours." But the Romans were 
very extreme cases. 

When the cause of melancholy is religious 
or moral, there is little to be done with the 
victim. In " Sartor Resartus " he will read 
how Mr. Carlyle cured himself, if ever he was 
cured. To be brief, he said, " What then, who 
cares ? " and indeed, in more reverent form of 
expression, it is all that can be said. When 
Nicias addressed the doomed and wasted 



ON HYPOCHONDRIACS. 765 

remnant of the Athenian expedition to Syra- 
cuse, he told them that "others, too, being 
men, had borne things which had to be en- 
dured." That is the whole philosophy of the 
matter. 



1 65 LOST LEADERS, 



THACKERAY S LONDON, 

A HOUSE in a highly respectable square, 
where Jeames Yellowplush was in service, 
had recently the fame of being haunted. 
No one knew exactly what haunted this 
desirable mansion, or how, though a novelist 
was understood to have supplied a satis- 
factory legend. The young man who " in- 
vestigated " the ghost rang the bell thrice 
violently, and then fell down dead, nor could 
he in any wise satisfy the curiosity of his 
friends. That fable is exploded. It was 
what is called an " aetiological myth ; " by 
the learned it was merely a story devised to 
account for the fact that the house was not 
occupied. The imagination of man, con- 
fronted by so strange a problem as money 
running to waste, took refuge in the super- 
natural. Much more truly haunted than the 
house in " Buckley Square " are the streets of 



THACKERAY'S LONDON. 167 

London which are tenanted by the ghosts 
that genius created. These, having never 
been born, can never die, and still we may- 
meet them in the roads and squares where 
they lived and took their pastime. Mr. 
Rideing, an American author, has published 
(with Messrs. Jarvis and Son) a little volume 
called " Thackeray's London," an account of 
the places which that great novelist made 
household words, and filled with genial spec- 
tres that time can never lay. Mr. Rideing's 
little book does not strike us as being quite 
complete. Surely Thackeray, especially in 
the " Ballads," mentions many places not 
alluded to by the new topographer. Besides, 
Mr. Rideing says that Thackeray's readers 
fors^et the localities in which his characters 
appear. Surely this is a calumny on human 
memory. Who but thinks of Becky Sharp 
as he trudges down Curzon Street ? Has 
Bryanston Square properly any reason for 
existence, except that the Hobson Newcomes 
dwelt there } Are the chambers of Captain 
Costigan forgotten by the memory of any 
man, or those of Pen and George Warrington ? 
But Pen took better rooms, not so lofty, when 
he scored that success with " Walter Lorraine." 



i68 LOST LEADERS. 

Where did Mr. Bowes, the hopeless admirer 
of the Fotheringay, dwell ? Every one should 
know, but that question might puzzle some. 
Or where was the lair of the Mulligan ? Like 
the grave of Arthur, or of Moliere, it is un- 
known ; the whole of the postal district known 
as W. is haunted by that tremendous shade. 
" I live there," says he, pointing down towards 
Uxbridge with the big stick he carries ; so his 
abode is in that direction, at any rate. No 
more has been given to man to know. 

Many minor reminiscences occur to the 
mind. In Pump Court we encounter the brisk 
little spectre of Mr. Frederick Minchin, and 
who can forget that his club was The Oxford 
and Cambridge, than which what better could 
he desire } Mr. Thackeray himself was a mem- 
ber of The Garrick, The Athenaeum, and The 
Reform, but the clubs of many of his charac- 
ters, like the " buth " of Jeames Yellowplush, 
are "wrapped up in a mistry." They are 
alluded to by fancy names, but the scholiast 
on Thackeray will probably be able to identify 
them. Is it not time, by the way, for that 
scholiast to give his labours to the public? 
Thackeray's world is passing ; the children 
he knew, the boys he tipped and took to the 



THACKERAY'S LONDON. 169 

play, are middle-aged men — fogies, in fact. 
Teinptis edax reritm, Time has an appetite 
as good as that of a boy at his first club 
dinner. The meaning of the great writer's 
contemporary allusions may be lost, like those 
of Villon and Aristophanes. Such is the fate 
of comedy. Who knows, if we turn to Dickens, 
what the "common profeel machine" was, or 
what were the steps of the dance known as 
the Fanteag (the spelling is dubious) ; or what 
the author meant by a "red-faced Nixon." 
Was it a nixie? Does the new Professor of 
the English Language and Literature at 
Oxford hope to cast the light of Teutonic 
research on these and similar inquiries } 
Sam Weller found that oysters always went 
hand-in-hand with poverty. How this must 
astonish a generation which finds the oyster 
nearly as extinct as the ichthyosaurus ! The 
" Book of Snobs " calls aloud for a com- 
mentator. Who is the nobleman holding his 
boots out of the hotel window — an act which 
the Snob very properly declined to classify 
as snobbish } Who are the originals of Henry 
Foker (this, indeed, is known), and of Wagg 
and Wenham ? Or did Wenham's real name 
rhyme to Foker, as, according to the Mulligan, 



lyo LOST LEADERS. 

** Perkins rhymes to Jerkins, my man of 
firkins " ? Posterity will insist on an an- 
swer, which will be nothing if not authentic. 
Posterity, pace Mr. Rideing, will remember 
very well that George Osborne's father lived 
in Russell Square, and will hunt in vain for 
96. There is no such number, any more 
than there ever was such a Pope as he to 
whom the unfortunate old woman in " Can- 
did " attributed her birth. Here once more, 
as Voltaire justly remarks in a footnote, we 
observe the discretion of our author. 

Colonel Newcome lived, as is well known, 
in Fitzroy Square, and died in the Charter 
House. To these shrines the pious go in 
pilgrimage ; the rather dingy quarters are 
brightened by the memory of his presence, 
as we think of Scott in Castle Street, Edin- 
burgh, or of Dr. John Brown in Princes Street 
— Dr. John Brown who was a Colonel New- 
come that had gone into medicine instead 
of the army. Smithfield is hardly more 
memorable for her martyrs than for the 
battles fought on neighbouring ground be- 
tween Biggs and Berry, between Cuff and old 
Figs. Kentish Town, but little sought for 
sentimental reasons, is glorified by the memory 



THACKERAY'S LONDON. 171 

of Adolphiis Larkins; " Islington, Pentonville, 
Somers Town, were the scenes of many of 
his exploits." Brompton, again, passionate 
Brompton, lent her shelter — or rather, sold 
it, for the poetess lived in a boarding-house — 
to Miss Bunnion. Cursitor Street might be 
unknown as the great men before Aga- 
memnon (many of whom, by the way, as 
Meleager and Pirithous, are known well 
enough) had not Cursitor Street contained 
the sponging-house where Rawdon Crawley 
was incarcerated. 

In addition to these scholia on Thackeray 
so sadly needed, and so little likely to be pub- 
lished, we need novelists' maps and topo- 
graphies of London and Paris. These will 
probably be constructed by some American 
of leisure ; they order these things better in 
America. When w^e go to Paris we want to 
know where Balzac's men and women lived, Z. 
Marcas and Cesar Birotteau, and Le Cousin 
Pons, and Le Pere Goriot, and all the duchesses, 
financiers, scoundrels, journalists, and persons 
of both sexes and no character "Comedie 
Humaine." London also might be thus 
spaced out — the London of Richardson, and 
Fielding, and Miss Burney, as well as the 



172 LOST LEADERS. 

London of Thackeray or Dickens. Already, 
to speak of to-day, Rupert Street is more 
interesting, because there, fallen in fortune, 
but resolute of heart and courtly as ever, 
Prince Florizel of Bohemia held his cigar 
divan. 



( 173 ) 



TORRID SUMMER. 

*' Is it very cold ? " asks the Prince of Den- 
mark, according to a familiar reading. No 
one has any occasion to consult the thermo- 
meter before answering the question, " Is it 
very hot ? " All things combine to prove that 
it is very hot. Even the man of metal who 
used, according to legend, to patrol the coast 
of Crete, the man with only one vein from 
head to heel, would admit (could he appear in 
the Machineries at present) that it is very hot 
indeed. He might not feel any subjective 
sensation of heat (for he seems to have been 
a mythical anticipation of the Conquering 
Machine which is to dominate the world), but 
he would have inferred the height of the 
temperature from a number of phenomena. 
He would have seen the ticket-clerks in the 
railway stations with their coats off. He 
would have observed imitation Japanese 



174 LOST LEADERS. 

parasols at a penny among the ware of 
enterprising capitalists in the streets. He 
would have marked the very street-boys in 
wide, inexpensive straw hats of various and 
astonishing colours. Woman he would have 
found in beautiful shades of blue, in such 
light garments " woven wind " as Theocritus 
speaks of when he presents the wife of his 
doctor with a new ivory distaff. 

As to men, they in their attire do show their 
wit or their want of courage, as the case may 
be. It is not easy for modern man, when he 
*' repairs to the metropolis," to dress up to the 
heat of the weather. An ingenious though 
too hasty philosopher once observed that all 
men who wear velvet coats are atheists. 
He probably overstated the amount of in- 
tellectual and spiritual audacity to be ex- 
pected from him who, setting the picturesque 
before the conventional, dons a coat of velvet. 
But it really does require some originality 
even to wear a white hat and a white waist- 
coat in a London July. The heat is never so 
great but that the majority of males endure 
black coats and black shiny hats. The 
others are in a minority. The voice of public 
opinion is not on their side. "Who stole 



TORRID SUMMER. 175 

the moke, Anna ? " asked suspicion ; and the 
answer came, " The man in the chapemi 
hlancr There is something daring, some- 
thing distinctive in a white hat ; and it may- 
be doubted whether the amount of comfort 
obtained by the revolutionary wearer is in 
a due ratio to the conspicuousness which his 
action entails on him. Members of Parlia- 
ment are singularly emancipated from these 
fears of the brave ; but members of Parlia- 
ment cannot supply the whole contingent of 
white-hatted men now to be seen in the streets 
of the metropolis. Their presence proves 
that it is very hot indeed. One swallow does 
not make a summer, but half a dozen pairs 
of "ducks" beheld in public places would 
mark a summer of unusually high tem- 
perature. 

There are, of course, alleviations. Nature 
compensates all who can afford to purchase 
the compensations. Strawberries, long waited 
for, shy, retiring fruit, have now nearly ap- 
proached the popular price of sixpence a 
basket. A divine of a past generation de- 
clared that in his opinion the joys of Paradise 
would consist of eating strawberries to the 
sound of a trumpet. For a poor sixpence half 



176 LOST LEADERS, 

of this transcendental pastime may be par- 
taken of, and probably the brass band which 
is usually round the corner could supply the 
sound of the trumpet at a small extra charge. 
Unluckily, doctors have decided that many 
of us must not eat strawberries, nor drink 
champagne cup, nor iced coffee. That is the 
way with doctors, ^sculapius was originally 
worshipped in the form of a serpent ; in the 
guise of a serpent he came to Rome. Medical 
men still hold of their heroic father, and 
physicians are the serpents in the Paradise 
of a warm summer. Mortals, in their hands 
are like Sancho Panza with his medical ad- 
viser. Here is summer, provoking a gentle 
interest in every method of assuaging thirst, 
and almost every method is condemned by 
one member of the faculty or another. Cham- 
pagne cannot be so royally sound, nor is 
shandy-gaff so humble, that it 'scapes whip- 
ping. How melancholy a thing is human life 
at best ! In boyhood we can eat more ices 
than our pocket-money enables us to pur- 
chase ; in maturity we have the pocket-money 
without the powers of digestion. The French 
lady said that if strawberry ices were only 
sinful, no pleasure could exceed that which 



TORRID SUMMER. 177 

is to be enjoyed in the consumption of the 
congealed fruit Strawberry ices are sinful 
now, and under the medical ban. The French 
lady, were she living still, might be at ease on 
that score. But her audacity is not given 
to all, and many fall back on that poor 
creature, lemon-squash, when they are con- 
scious of a thirst worthy of being quenched 
by the most imperial beverages in imperial 
quarts. 

Men, being reasonable, must hurry about 
town when the thermometer is at something 
fabulous, wearing black clothes, going to 
parties, and larding the lean earth. Beasts 
are not so foolish. To the pious Brahmin 
Vishnu accords the power of becoming what 
animal he pleases, with a break in the lease, 
so to speak, when circumstances alter. Had 
a sage this power at this moment he would 
become a cow, standing up to her middle in 
the clear, cool water of the Kennet, under the 
shade of a hanging willow tree. What bliss 
can equal that of a cow thus engaged .<* Her 
life must, indeed, be burning with a hard gem- 
like flame. She must be plucking the flower 
of a series of exquisite moments. The rich, 
deep grass, with the buttercups and forget- 



178 LOST LEADERS. 

me-nots, is behind her, but she has had enough 

of that, and is open to more spiritual pleasures. 

The kingfishers and water-wagtails flit about 

her. The water-rat jumps into the stream 

with a soft plash, and his black body scuttles 

along to the opposite bank. The green 

dragon-flies float hither and thither ; the 

beautiful frail-winged water-flies float over 

trout too lazy to snatch at them. The cow, 

in her sensuous nirvana, may see and marvel 

at the warm boating-man as he tows two stout 

young ladies in a heavy boat, or labours with 

the oar. Her pleasure is far more enduring 

than that of the bathers in the lasher up 

stream, and she has an enormous advantage 

over the contemplative man trying to lie on 

the grass and enjoy nature, for he really is 

not enjoying nature. The pleasures of lying 

on the grass are chiefly those of imagination. 

You cannot get into a truly comfortable 

position. Your back has a lump of grass 

under it here, or your arm tingles and " falls 

asleep," as children say. No attitude will 

enable you to read, and the black flies hover 

around and alight on such of your features 

as are tempting — to a fly. Then you begin 

to be quite sure it is damp, and, as you 



TORRID SUMMER. 179 

have nothing else to sit on, you sit down on 
your book, which no one can call comfort- 
able. 

The notion of reclining on cushions in a punt 
is equally fallacious, and, while promising much, 
ends in a headache. Besides, the river does 
not always smell very nicely now that it has 
so long been unrelieved by rain. All through 
the hot day, in fact, civilized northern man 
finds loafing very difficult, especially as his 
Aryan impetuosity is always urging him to 
do something active. Cows in this climate 
are the only true lotus-eaters. Next to them 
in enjoyment comes the angler who approaches 
the river about eight o'clock, at the time of 
the " evening rise." He, like the cow, is knee- 
deep in water, wading ; he listens to the plash 
of big, hungry trout, sucking down gnats under 
the alders ; he casts over them, and if he 
catches them, who more content than he, as 
the sky turns from amber to purple and silvery 
grey, and the light fades till one cannot thread 
the gut through the eye-hole of one of the 
new-fashioned hooks ? Certainly this man is 
more blessed than he who is just coming to 
the ices at a big, hot London dinner, and 
knows that his physician has forbidden him 



i8o LOST LEADERS. 

this form of enjoyment. What a struggle in 
that person's mind ! and how almost pre- 
destined is his fall ! how sure his repentance 
next morning! 



( I8l ) 



WESTERN DROLLS. 

The death of Mr. "Josh BiUings" may have 
diminished the stock of harmless pleasures, 
but can hardly be said to have eclipsed the 
gaiety of nations. In this country, at least 
however it may have been in the States, Josh 
Billings was by no means the favourite or 
leading American humorist. If phonetic 
spelling were universal, much of his fun would 
disappear. His place was nearer that of 
Orpheus C. Kerr than of Artemus Ward, or 
of Mark Twain. It has long been the English 
habit to look for most of our broad fun across 
the Atlantic. Americans say we are not a 
funny people. A chivalrous and mediaeval 
French writer, not unfrequently quoted, once 
made a kindred remark. We are not at 
present a boisterously comic lot of geniuses, 
and if you see the tears running down the 
eyes of a fellow-countryman reading in a 



1 82 LOST LEADERS. 

railway carriage, if he be writhing with mirth 
too powerful for expression, the odds are 
that he has got hold of a Yankee book. 

In American country newspapers there is 
usually one column entirely devoted to facetiae, 
which appear to have been clipped out of the 
columns of other country papers. They live 
on each other, just as the natives of the Scilly 
Islands are feigned to eke out a precarious 
livelihood by taking in each other's washing. 
It is averred that one American journal, the 
Danbury Newsman^ contains nothing but 
merriment — a fearful idea ! We have nothing 
like this at home, and as for writers who 
make a reader giggle almost indelicately 
often, where are they to be found } " Happy 
Thoughts " affect some of us in this way ; 
others are convulsed by "Vice Versa;" but, as 
George Eliot says, nothing is such a strain 
on the affections as a difference of taste 
in jokes. It is unsafe to recommend any 
writer as very funny. No man can ever tell 
how his neighbour will take a joke. But it 
may safely be said that authors who really 
tickle their students are extremely rare in 
England, except as writers for the stage, and 
surely " The Great Pink Pearl " might have 



WESTERN DROLLS. 1S3 

made Timon of Athens shake his sides, or 
might convert a Veddah to the beUef that 
"there is something to laugh at." In Htera- 
ture, when we want to be even hysterically 
diverted, we must, as a rule, buy our fun from 
tke American humorists. If we cannot make 
laughter ourselves, at least we can, and do, 
laugh with them. 

A vast amount of American humour may 
be called local and middle-class. In the 
youth of Dickens, there was a regular set of 
home-made middle-class jokes about babies, 
about washing-day, about mothers-in-law, about 
dinner-parties that were not successes, about 
curtain lectures, about feminine extravagance 
in bonnet-buying, about drunken men, about 
beer, all of them jokes worn threadbare. 
A similar kind of fun, with local differences, 
prevails in the States, but is wonderfully 
mixed up with scriptural and religious 
jokes. To us sober Britons, whatever our 
opinions, these latter japes appear more or 
less ribald, though they are quite innocently 
made. 

Aristophanes, a pious conservative, was 
always laughing consumedly at the Greek 
gods, and the Greek gods were supposed to 



i84 LOST LEADERS, 

be in the joke. The theatrical season was 
sacred to the deity of wine and fun, and he, 
with the other Olympians, was not scandal- 
ized by the merriment. In the ages of faith 
it is also notorious that saints, and even more 
sacred persons, were habitually buffooned in 
the Mystery Plays, and the Church saw no 
harm. The old leaven of American Puri- 
tanism has the same kind of familiarity with 
ideas and words which we approach more 
delicately, conscious that the place where 
we tread is holy ground. This consciousness 
appears to be less present in the States, 
which are peopled by descendants of the 
Puritans, and scores of good things are told 
in "family" American journals and maga- 
zines which are received without a grin in 
this country. " We are not amused," a great 
person is reported to have once observed 
when some wit had ventured on a hazardous 
anecdote. And we, meaning the people of 
England, are often not amused, but rather 
vexed, by gaieties which appear absolutely 
harmless on the other side of the ocean. 
These two kinds of humour, the middle-class 
jokes about courting between lovers seated 
on a snake fence, or about Sunday schools 



WESTERN DROLLS. 185 

and quaint answers there given to Biblical 
questions, leave us cold. 

But surely we appreciate as well as the 
Americans themselves the extraordinarily in- 
tellectual high spirits of Mark Twain, a writer 
whose genius goes on mellowing, ripening, 
widening, and improving at an age when 
another man would have written himself out. 
His gravity in narrating the most preposterous 
tale, his sympathy with every one of his 
absurdest characters, his microscopic imagina- 
tion, his vein of seriousness, his contrasts of 
pathos, his bursts of indignant plain speaking 
about certain national errors, make Mark 
Twain an author of the highest merit, and far 
remote from the mere buffoon. Say the "Jump- 
ing Frog " is buffoonery ; perhaps it is, but 
Louis Quinze could not have classed the author 
among the people he did not love, les biiffons 
qui ne me font rire. The man is not to be 
envied who does not laugh over the ride on 
"The Genuine Mexican Plug" till he is 
almost as sore as the equestrian after that 
adventure. Again, while studying the narra- 
tive of how Mark edited an agricultural paper 
in a country district, a person with any sense 
of humour is scarcely a responsible being. 



i86 LOST LEADERS, 

He is quite unfit (so doth he revel in laughter 
uncontrollable) for the society of staid people, 
and he ought to be ejected from club libraries, 
where his shouts waken the bald-headed 
sleepers of these retreats. It is one example 
of what we have tried to urge, that " Mark's 
way " is not nearly so acceptable in " The 
Innocents Abroad," especially when the 
Innocents get to the Holy Land. We think 
it in bad taste, for example, to snigger over 
the Siege of Samaria, and the discomfiture 
of " shoddy speculators " in curious articles 
of food during that great leaguer. Recently 
Mark Twain has shown in his Mississippi 
sketches, in " Tom Sawyer," and in " Huckle- 
bury Finn," that he can paint a landscape, 
that he can describe life, that he can tell a 
story as well as the very best, and all without 
losing the gift of laughter. His travel-books 
are his least excellent ; he is happiest at 
home, in the country of his own Blue Jay. 

The contrasts, the energy, the mixture of 
races in America, the overflowing young life 
of the continent, doubtless give its humorists 
the richness of its vein. All over the land 
men are eternally "swopping stories" at bars, 
and in the long, endless journeys by railway 



WESTERN DROLLS. 187 

and steamer. How little, comparatively, the 
English " swop stories " ! The Scotch are 
almost as much addicted as the Americans to 
this form of barter, so are the Irish. The 
Englishman has usually a dignified dread of 
dropping into his " anecdotage." 

The stories thus collected in America are 
the subsoil of American literary humour, a 
rich soil in which the plant cultivated by 
Mark Twain and Mr. Frank Stockton grows 
with vigour and puts forth fruit and flowers. 
Mr. Stockton is very unlike Mark Twain : he 
is quiet, domesticated, the jester of the family 
circle. Yet he has shown in " Rudder 
Grange," and in "The Transferred Ghost," 
very great powers, and a pleasant, dry kind 
of Amontillado flavour in his fun, which 
somewhat reminds one of Thackeray — the 
Thackeray of the " Bedford-row Conspiracy " 
and of " A Little Dinner at Timmins." Mr. 
Stockton's vein is a little too connubial — a 
little too rich in the humours and experiences 
of young married people. But his fun is 
rarely strained or artificial, except in the later 
chapters of "Rudder Grange," and he has 
a certain kindliness and tenderness not to be 
always met with in the jester. His angling 



1 88 LOST LEADERS. 

and hunting pieces are excellent, and so are 
those of Mr. Charles Dudley Warner. This 
humorist (like Alceste) was once " funnier 
than he had supposed," when he sat down 
with a certain classical author, to study the 
topography of Epipote. But his talent is 
his own, and very agreeable, though he once 
so forgot himself as to jest on the Deceased 
Wife's Sister. When we think of those writers 
to whom we all owe so much, it would be 
sheer ingratitude to omit the name of the 
master of them all, Oliver Wendell Holmes. 
Here is a wit who is a scholar, and almost 
a poet, and whose humour is none the less 
precious for being accompanied by good 
humour, learning, a wide experience of the 
world. With Mr. Lowell, he belongs to an 
older generation, yet reigns among the 
present. May the reign be long I 



c 1S9 ; 



SHOW SUNDAY. 

The years bring round very quickly the old 
familiar events. Yesterday was Show Sunday. 
It scarcely seems a year since last the painters 
received their friends, and perhaps a few of 
their enemies. These visits to studios are 
very exciting to ladies who have read about 
studios in novels, and believe that they will 
find everywhere tawny tiger-skins, Venetian 
girls, chrysanthemum and hawthorn patterned 
porcelain, suits of armour, old plate, swords, 
and guns, and bows, and all the other " pro- 
perties " of the painter of romance. Some of 
these delightful things, no doubt, the visitors 
of yesterday saw, and probably some painters 
still wear velvet coats and red neckties, and 
long hair and pointed beards. But the typical 
artist is not what he was. He has become 
domesticated. Sometimes he is nearly as 
rich and " apolaustic " as a successful stock- 



I90 LOST LEADERS. 

broker, and much more fashionable. Then he 
dwells in marble halls, with pleasing fountains, 
by whose falls all sorts of birds sing madrigals. 
He has an entirely new house, in short, fitted 
up in the early Basque style, or after the 
fashion of an Inca's palace, or like the Royal 
dwelling of a Rajah, including, of course, all 
modern improvements. This is a very desir- 
able kind of artist to know at home ; but, 
after all, it is not easy to distinguish him 
from a highly-cultivated and successful mer- 
chant prince, with a taste for bric-a-brac. He 
is not in the least like the painter of romance ; 
perhaps he is better — he is certainly more 
fortunate ; but he is not the real old thing, the 
Bohemian of Ouida and Miss Braddon. One 
might as well expect a banker to be a 
Bohemian. 

Another class of modern painter is even 
more disappointing. He is extremely neat 
and smooth in his appearance, and dresses 
in the height of the most quiet fashion. 
His voice is low and soft, and he never 
(like the artist of fiction) employs that Eng- 
lish word whereby the Royalist sailor was 
recognized when, attired as a Portuguee, he 
tried to blow up one of the ships of Admiral 



SHO W SUNDA Y. 191 

Blake. This new kind of artist avoids studio 
slang as much as he does long hair and red 
waistcoats. He might be a young barrister, 
only he is more polished ; or a young doctor, 
only he is more urbane. No doubt there 
exist men of the ancient species — rough-and- 
ready men as strong as bargees, given to much 
tobacco, amateurs of porter or shandygaff, 
great hunters of the picturesque, such wild 
folk as Thackeray knew and Mr. Charles 
Keene occasionally caricatures. These are 
the artists whom young ladies want to see, 
but they are not in great force on Show 
Sunday. They rather look on that festival 
as a day of national mourning and humiliation 
and woe. They do not care to have all 
Belgravia or South Kensington let loose in 
their places. They do not wish the public to 
gaze and simper at pieces which will pro- 
bably be enskied or rejected, or hung at a 
dangerous corner next a popular picture. 

No painter who is not of the most secure 
eminence can, perhaps, quite enjoy Show 
Sunday. Many of his visitors know as much 
about Art as the Fuegians do of white neck- 
ties. They come and gaze, and say, " How 
soft, how sweet ! " like Rosey Mackenzie, and 



192 



LOST LEADERS. 



have tea, and gc away. Other people offer 

amazing suggestions, and no one who thinks 

the pictures failures quite manages to conceal 

his opinion. Poets are said to be fond of 

reading their own poems aloud, which seems 

amazing ; but then as they read they cannot 

see their audience, nor guess how they are 

boring those sufferers. The poet, like the 

domestic fowl which did not scream when 

plucked, is " too much absorbed." But while 

his friends look at his pictures, the painter 

looks at their faces, and must make many sad 

discoveries. Like other artists, he does not 

care nearly so much for the praise as he is 

dashed and discomfited by the slightest hint 

of blame. It is a wonder that irascible 

painters do not run amuck among their own 

canvases and their visitors on Show Sunday. 

That, at least, in Mr. Browning's phrase, is 

" how it strikes a contemporary." Were the 

artists to yield to the promptings of their 

lower nature, were they to hearken to the Old 

Man within them, fearful massacres would 

occur in St. John's Wood, and Campden Hill, 

and round Holland House. An alarmed 

public and a powerless police would behold 

vast ladies of wealth, and maidens fair, and 



SHOW SUNDAY. 193 

wild critics with eye-glasses speeding, at a 
furious pace, along certain roads, pursued by 
painters armed to the teeth with palette knives 
and mahlsticks. 

This is what would occur if academicians 
and others gave way to the natural pas- 
sions provoked by criticism and general 
demeanour on Show Sunday. But it is 
a proof of the triumph of civilization that 
nothing of this kind occurs. Peace prevails 
in the street and studio, and at the end of the 
day the artist must feel much as the critic 
does after the private view at the Royal 
Academy. The artist has been having a 
private view of the public on its good be- 
haviour, and that wild contempt of the bour- 
geois which burns in every artist's breast 
must reach its highest temperature. How- 
ever, the holidays are beginning, the working 
season is over, and that reflection, doubtless, 
helps the weary painter through his ordeal. 
But his friends also have to bear a good deal 
if they happen not to like his performances. 
They must feign admiration as well as they 
may, and the sun of Show Sunday goes down 
on a world rather glad that it is well over. 

Lord Beaconsfield once said at an Academy 

o 



194 LOST LEADERS. 

dinner that originality was the great charac- 
teristic of EngHsh art So Httle was he 
supposed to have spoken seriously that 
another, of whose ceasing to perorate there 
is no prospect, characterized his criticism 
in language so strong that it cannot well 
be repeated. Let us admit that Lord 
Beaconsfield was either mistaken, or that, 
like the Consul Aulus, "he spake a bitter 
jest." Our artists, when they have found 
their vein, go on working it. They do 
not wander off in search of new veins, as a 
general rule. It would be unkind to draw 
attention to personal proofs of this truism. 
He who has done well with babies in fancy 
dresses will go on doing well with infants in 
masquerade. There are moments when the 
arrival of Cronus to swallow the whole family 
of painted babes, as he did his own, would be 
not unwelcome ; when an artistic Herod would 
be applauded for a general massacre of the 
Burlington House innocents. But this may 
be only the jaundiced theory of a jaded critic. 
The mothers of England are a much more 
important set of judges, and they like the 
babies. Then the bishops, though a little 
monotonous, must be agreeable to their flocks; 



SHO W SUNDA Y. 195 

while the hunting- dogs, and pugs, and kittens, 
and monks, and Venetian girls — la blonde et 
la brum — and the Highland rivers of the 
colour of porter "with a head on it," and 
the mackerel-hued sea, and the marble, and 
the martyrs, and the Mediterranean — they 
are all dear to various classes of our teeming 
population. The critic may say he has seen 
them all before, he knows them off by heart ; 
but then so does he know Raphael's infants, 
and Botticelli's madonnas, and Fra Angelico's 
angel trumpeters, and Vecelli's blue hills, and 
Robusti's doges, and Lionardo's smiling, enig- 
matic ladies. He does not say he is tired of 
these, but that is only his eternal affectation. 
He is afraid, perhaps, to say that the old 
masters bore him — that is a compliment re- 
served for contemporaries. Let it be admitted 
that in all ages artists have had their grooves, 
like other men, and have reproduced them- 
selves and their own best effects. But, as 
this is inevitably true, how careful they should 
be that the effects are really of permanent 
value and beauty ! Realistic hansom cabs, 
and babies in strange raiment, and school- 
girls of the last century, and Masters of 
Hounds, are scarcely of so much permanent 



196 LOST LEADERS. 

value as the favourite types and characters 
which Lionardo and Carpaccio repeat again 
and again. We no more think Claude 
monotonous than we think " the quiet 
coloured end of evening " flat and stale. But 
we may, and must, tire of certain modern 
combinations too often rehearsed, after the 
trick has become a habit, and the method an 
open mystery. 



C 197 ) 



THE DRY FLY, 

As the Easter vacation approaches, the 
cockney angler, the "inveterate cockney," as 
Lord SaHsbury did or did not say, begins to 
look to his fishing tackle. Now comes in the 
sweet of the year, and we may regret, with 
Mr. Swinburne, that "such sweet things should 
be fleet, such fleet things sweet." There are 
not many days that the London trout-fisher 
gets by the waterside. The streams worth 
his attention, and also within his reach, are 
few, and either preserved so that he cannot 
approach them, or harried by poachers as 
well as anglers. How much happier were men 
in Walton's day who stretched their legs up 
Tottenham Hill and soon found, in the Lea, 
trout which would take a worm when the rod 
was left to fish for itself! In those old days 
Hackney might be called a fishing village. 
There was in Walton's later years a writer on 



198 LOST LEADERS. 

fishing named W. Gilbert, " Gent." This gent 
produced a small work called the "Angler's 
Delight," and if the angler was delighted, he 
must have been very easily pleased. The 
book now sells for large sums, apparently 
because it is scarce, for it is eminently worth- 
less. The gentle writer, instead of giving 
directions about fly-dressing, calmly tells his 
readers to go and buy his flies at a little shop 
" near Powle's." To the " Angler's Delight " 
this same W. Gilbert added a tract on " The 
Hackney River, and the best stands there." 
Now there are no stands there, except cab- 
stands, which of course are uninteresting to 
the angler. Two hundred years have put his 
fishing far away from him. 

However, the ancient longing lives in him, 
and the Sunday morning trains from Padding- 
ton are full of early fishing-men. But it can- 
not be that most of them are after trout, the 
Thames trout being so artful that it needs a 
week's work and private information to come 
to terms with him. Hitherto he has been spun 
for chiefly, or coaxed with live bait ; but now 
people think that a good big loch fly may 
win his affections. It is to be hoped that this 
view is correct, for the attempts by spinning 



THE DRY FLY. 199 

and with live bait are calculated to stretch 
and crack even the proverbial patience of 
anglers. Persons conscious of less enduring 
mettle in their mind will soon be off to the 
moorland waters of Devonshire, or the Border, 
where trout are small, fairly plentiful, and 
come early into season. About the upper 
waters of Severn, where Sabrina is still un- 
vexed by pollution, and where the stream is 
not greater than Tweed at Peebles, sport is 
fair in spring. 

Though the Devonshire, and Border, and 
probably the Welsh waters, are just in their 
prime, the season is not yet for the Itchen 
and the Kennet, with their vast over-educated 
and over-fed monsters of the deep. Though 
there may be respectable angling for accom- 
plished artists thereabouts in late April and 
May, the true sport does not begin till the 
May-fly comes in, which he generally does 
in June. Then the Kennet is a lovely and 
seductive spectacle to the angler. Between 
the turns of sun and shower the most beautiful 
delicate insects, frail as gossamer and fair as 
a fairy, are born, and flit for their hour, and 
float down the water, soon to be swallowed 
by the big four-pound trout. He who has no 



200 LOST LEADERS. 

experience of this angling, and who comes to 
it from practice in the North, at first thinks 
he cannot go wrong. There is the smooth 
clear water, broken every moment by a trout's 
nose, just gently pushed up, but indicating, 
by the size of the ripple, that a monster is 
feeding below. You think, if you are accus- 
tomed to less experienced fish, that all is well. 
You throw your flies, two or three, a yard 
above the ripple, and wait to strike. But 
the ripples instantly cease, and on the surface 
of the water you see the long thin track of a 
broad back and huge dorsal fin. The trout 
has been, not frightened — he is in no hurry — 
but disgusted by your clumsy cast, which 
would readily have taken in a sea-trout or a 
loch-trout. They of Kennet and Test know 
a good deal better than to approach your wet 
flies. A few minutes of this failure reduce 
the novice to the despair of Tantalus. He 
never was set to such a torture as casting 
over big feeding trout and never getting a 
rise. You feel inclined to throw your fly- 
book bodily at the heads of the trout and 
bid them take their choice of its contents. 
That method of angling would be quite as 
successful as angling for large southern trout 



THE DRY FLY. 201 

in the northern manner. So the novice either 
loses his temper and walks away to take his 
ease and some shandy-gaff at the Bear, or he 
sits down to smoke, or he potters botanically 
among the flowering water-weeds. Then a 
southern angler comes near, and is presently 
playing a trout which the northern man has 
not "put down," or frightened into total 
abstinence for the day. Then the true 
method of fishing for trout in a clear stream 
is illustrated in practice, and a beautiful and 
most delicate art it proves to be. 

First, the angler notices a rising fish. Then 
he retires to a safe distance from the bank, out- 
flanks the trout, and comes round in his rear. 
As fish always feed with their heads up stream, 
it is necessary in such clear water to fish for 
them from below, from as far below as possible. 
Every advantage is taken of cover, and the 
angler soon acquires the habits of a skirmisher. 
A tuft of rushes, an inequality in the ground, 
or an alder bush conceals him ; behind this 
he kneels, and gets his tackle in order. He 
uses only one fly, not two or three, as people 
do on the Border. He carefully measures his 
ground, flicking his cast through the air, so 
that the fly shall be perfectly dry. Then the 



202 LOST LEADERS. 

trout rises, and in a moment the dry fly de- 
scends as lightly as a living insect, half a foot 
above the ripple. Down it floats, the fisher 
watching with a beating heart : then there is 
a ripple, then a splash ; the rod bends nearly 
double, the Hne flies out to the further bank, 
and the struggle begins. The fight is by no 
means over, for the fish instinctively makes 
for a bed of weeds, where he can entangle and 
break the line, while the angler holds him as 
hard as he dares, and, if tackle be sound and 
luck goes not contrary, the big trout is landed 
at last. 

This is no trifling victory. Nay, a Kennet 
trout is far harder to catch and kill than the 
capricious salmon, which will often take a fly, 
however clumsy be the man who casts it. 
There is a profane theory that several 
members of the Hungerford Club never catch 
the trout they pay so much to have the privi- 
lege of trying to capture. A very sure eye 
and clever hand are needed to make the fly 
light dry and neat so close above the fish that 
he has not time to be alarmed by the gut. 
" Gut-shy " he is, and the less he sees of it the 
better. Moreover, a wonderful temper is re- 
quired, for in the backward cast of the long 



THE DRY FLY, 203 

line the hook will, ten to one, catch in a tree, 
or a flower, or a straw, or a bit of hay, and 
then it has to be disengaged by the angler 
crawling on hands and knees. Perhaps a 
northern angler will never quite master the 
delicacy of this sport, nor acquire the entomo- 
logical knowledge which seems to be necessary, 
nor make up his mind between the partisans 
of the light one-handed rod and the double- 
handed rod. 



204 LOST LEADERS, 



AMATEUR AUTHORS. 

Literature knows no Trades Unions, but 
if things go on as they are at present, perhaps 
we shall hear of literary rattening and 
picketing. The K'dlnische Zeitung, in Ger- 
many, has been protesting against the mob 
of noble ladies who write with ease, though 
their works, even to persons acquainted with 
the German tongue, are by no means easy 
reading. The Teutonic paper requests these 
ambitious dames to conduct themselves as 
amateurs, to write, if write they must, but to 
print only a few copies of their books, and 
give these few copies only to their friends. 
This is advice as morally excellent as it will 
be practically futile, nor does it apply only 
to ladies of rank, but to amateur novelists in 
general. The old quarrel between artists and 
amateurs is fiercely waged in dramatic society, 
perhaps because actors and actresses feel the 



AMATEUR AUTHORS. 205 

Stress of competing with cheap amateur labour. 
Now, though the professional novelist has 
only of late begun to think seriously of the 
subject, it is plain that he too is competing 
with labour unnaturally cheap, and is losing 
in the competition. To define an amateur is 
difficult, as all athletic clubs and rowing clubs 
are aware. But in this particular field of 
human industry, the amateur may be defined 
with ease. The amateur novelist is not merely 
the person who, having another profession, 
writes a romance by way of ** by-work," as the 
Greeks called it. Lord Beaconsfield was no 
amateur in romance, and perhaps no novel was 
ever sold at so high a ransom as " Endymion." 
Yet Lord Beaconsfield only scribbled in his idle 
hours, and was not half so much an amateur 
novelist as Mr. Gladstone is an amateur 
student of Homer. No ; the true amateur is 
he or she who publishes at his or her own 
expense. The labour of such persons is not 
only cheap ; its rewards may be estimated by 
a frightful minus quantity — the publisher's 
bill. Every one must have observed that 
when his box of books comes from the circu- 
lating library, it by no means contains the 
books he has asked the librarian to send. 



206 LOST LEADERS. 

The batch does not exclusively consist of the 
plums and prizes of the publishing season, of 
Sir Henry Gordon's book on his illustrious 
brother, of the most famous novel of the 
month, of Mr. Romilly's " New Guinea and 
the Western Pacific " — as diverting a book of 
travel as ever was written, of Mr. Stockton's 
"Mrs. Null," and generally of all that is 
freshest and most notable in biography, fiction, 
and history. A few of the peaches of the 
best quality there are, but the rest are fruit 
less valued, are, in fact, amateur novels. 
There are two sets of three gaudy novels by 
unheard-of ladies ; and perhaps three shilling 
novels, with such titles as " Who Did It ? " 
** Chopped in Cover," or " Under a Cloud," 
none of which names we trust are copyright. 
A similar phenomenon presents itself at the 
bookstalls, which are choked with cheap and 
unenticing brief tales of the deadly sins 
And whose fault is it that we do not get the 
good books and are flooded with the bad 
books ? Why, it is the fault of the ambitious 
amateur, of the ladies and gentlemen who 
publish at their own risk, and at the cost of 
the world of readers and professional writers. 
This is, with a few remarkable limitations 



AMATEUR AUTHORS. 207 

a free country. No law exists which says to 
publishers, " Thou shalt not publish on com- 
mission." No law confines the vagaries of 
amateur romance. Hence the market is 
choked, and the circulating libraries are over- 
whelmed with rubbish, and good books, as 
the Americans of the West say, "get no 
show." The debauched novel reader, to whom 
every story is a story, and one no better nor 
worse than another, may not heed it, but the 
judicious grieve, and the artist in fiction 
returns a smaller income tax. Then the very 
revenue suffers with the general decline of 
letters. It may, of course, be urged that all 
artists are amateurs before they secure a 
paying public. The amateur novelist may 
be compared to the young dramatic author 
who gives his piece at a matinee, and who, 
once in a hundred times, finds a manager to 
approve it. May not publishing en amatettr 
be the only way of reaching the public ? To 
this question the answer is. No ! The risk of 
publishing a novel by a new author is nothing 
like so great as the risk of producing a play 
with an unknown name to it. Publishers 
exist for the purpose of bringing out books 
that will pay, and they generally pounce on a 



2oS LOST LEADERS, 

good manuscript in fiction, whether the writer 
be known or unknown. It is much more easy 
to predict whether a novel will pay or not 
than to prophecy about a drama. Thus the 
most obscure author (in spite of the difficulties 
faced by "Jane Eyre" and "Vanity Fair ") may 
rely on it, that if his MS. is not accepted, it 
is not worth accepting. He should not, if he 
has decently sound reasons for self-confidence, 
be disheartened by two or three refusals. 
One man's taste might be averse to " John 
Inglesant," another's might turn against Ouida, 
a third might fail to see the merit of " Vice 
Versa." But if half a dozen experts taste and 
reject a manuscript, it is almost certain to be 
hopeless. Then the author should take the 
advice once offered by Mr. Walter Besant. 
'■'■ Never publish at your own expense." If 
you do, you stamp yourself as an amateur ; 
you add to the crowd of futilities that choke 
the market ; and, if you have it in you to 
write a novel which shall be a good piece, 
you are handicapping yourself by placing a 
bad novel on your record. People sin out of 
thoughtlessness, as well as depravity, and we 
would not say that every amateur novelist is, 
ex officio^ infamous, nefarious, and felonious. 



AMATEUR AUTHORS. 209 

He or she may be only rather vain, conceited, 
and unreflecting. 

Where, then, is the remedy if homilies fail 
to convert the sinner, as, indeed, it is the mis- 
fortune of homilies to fail ? The remedy will 
be found in a Novelists' League, with tickets, 
and boycotting, and strikes, and rattening, 
and all the other devices for getting our own 
way in an oppressive world. There will be a 
secret society of professionals. Lady novelists 
(amateurs) will be rattened ; their blotting- 
paper and French dictionaries will be stolen 
or destroyed ; their publishers will be boy- 
cotted by all members of the League, who 
will decline to publish with any man known 
to deal with amateurs. Nay, so powerful is 
this dread and even criminal confederacy, 
that amateurs will not even be reviewed. 
Neither the slashing, nor the puffing, nor the 
faintly praising notice will be meted out to 
them. There will be a conspiracy of silence. 
The verycirculatinglibraries will be threatened, 
and coffins (stolen from undertakers who 
dabble in romance) will be laid at Mr. Mudie's 
door, unless he casts off the amateur in fiction. 
The professionals will march through rapine 
to emancipation. They will strike off the 

P 



210 LOST LEADERS. 

last gyves that fetter the noble art of romance, 
and in five or six years we shall have only 
about a tenth of the present number of 
romances, but that tenth will pass through as 
many editions as "The Pilgrim's Progress," 
which, by the way, was probably, like Ron- 
sard's poems, the work of an amateur. But 
these were other times, when an author did 
not expect to make money, and thought him- 
self lucky if, after a slashing personal review 
by the Inquisition, his fragments v/ere not 
burned at the stake in a bonfire of his 
volumes. 



( 211 ) 



SOME RARE THINGS FOR 
SALE. 

An American writer has been complaining 
lately that his countrymen have lost the habit 
of reading. This is partly the result of that 
free trade in English books which is the only 
form of free trade that suits the American 
Constitution. People do not buy American 
books any longer, because they can get 
English works, mere printed rags, but paying 
nothing to English authors, for a few cents. 
The rags, of course, fall to pieces, and are 
tossed into the waste-paper basket, and thus 
a habit of desultoriness and of abstention from 
books worth styling books grows and grows, 
like a noxious and paralysing parasite, over 
the American intellect. In this way our 
pleasant vices are made instruments to plague 
us, and the condition of the law, which leaves 
the British authors at the mercy of the Aldens 



212 LOST LEADERS. 

and Monros of the States, is beginning to 
react on the buyers of goods indelicately 
obtained. Even newspaper articles are be- 
coming, it is said, a heavy and a weary weight 
on the demoralised attention, and people are 
ceasing to read anything but brief and pro- 
bably personal paragraphs, such as " Joaquin 
Miller has had his hair cut." 

This is a deplorable condition of things, and 
perhaps not quite without example at home, 
where, however, many people still intend to 
read books, and order them at the libraries, 
though they never really carry out intentions 
which, like those of Wilkins Micawber the 
younger, are excellent. To persons conscious 
of mental debility and incapable of grappling 
even with a short shilling novel, a brief and 
easy form of reading may be recommended. 
They may study catalogues ; they may 
peruse the lists of their wares which second- 
hand booksellers and dealers in all kinds 
of curiosities circulate gratis. This is the 
only kind of circular which should not go 
straight to its long home in the waste-paper 
basket. A catalogue is full of information. 
It is so exceedingly inconsecutive that even 
the most successful barrister, or doctor, or 



SOME RARE THINGS FOR SALE. 213 

stockbroker (they are the people that read 
least) need not be fatigued by its contents. 
The catalogue skips from gay to grave, from 
Tupper to Aretino, from Dickens to " Drelin- 
court on Death." You can pick it up where 
you like, and lay it down when your poor 
fagged attention is distracted by a cab in the 
street, or a bird in the branches. Then there 
is the pleasure of marking with a pencil the 
articles which you would buy if you could — 
the Nankin double bottle, the old novel bound 
in the arms of the Comtesse de Verrue, the 
picture ascribed to the school of Potto Potto- 
boileri. Of course, in these bad times, such 
purchases are out of the question, but the 
taste and judgment are gratified by " marking 
them down," like partridges in September. 

These contemplative reveries on catalogues 
have been inspired by a catalogue, not with- 
out its merits — a list of relics of Mexican 
history now to be sold. The curious may 
find it for themselves, the wealthy may specu- 
late in the treasures which it advertises. 
Here is a piece of the Emperor Maximilian's 
waistcoat, ''same in which they shot him," 
to employ an idiom of Captain Rawdon 
Crawley's. There are many relics of the 



214 LOST LEADERS. 

same recent and troublous times ; but the 
amateur is more strongly attracted by a 
very singular series of objects of the times 
of the Spanish Conquest, nearly four hundred 
years ago. It is not so much the obsidian 
idols, made of that curious bottle-glass-like 
mineral so fashionable among the Aztecs, as 
the authentic remains of Fernando Cortes that 
the collector will covet. What man had ever 
such fortune as Cortes — he who discovered a 
new world as strange as a new planet .? He 
conquered a great civilized race, he overthrew 
a dynasty, not only of mortals, but of gods. 
Huitzilopochtli and Quetzalcoatl fled from 
him, and their hideous priests, draped and 
masked in skins fresh flayed from beasts or 
men, vanished at his coming, as Isis, Osiris, 
and the dog Anubis fled from the folding 
star of Bethlehem. He fought battles like 
the visions of romance, and he took great 
and stately cities, with all their temples and 
towers, which a month before were as un- 
known to Europeans as the capitals of Mars 
and Sirius. The wonderful catalogue of 
which we speak is rich in relics of this hero. 
We are offered a chance to buy his " trunk," 
a carved wooden trunk in which Cortes carried 



SOME RARE THINGS FOR SALE. 215 

his personal property. His army chest, which 
held the sacred gold of Montesuma and the 
treasure of the Temple of the Sun, is to be 
sold for a consideration. His pistols are also 
on sale, and his "field-glass," which must be 
an exceedingly early example of that useful 
invention. Whether the field-glass is binocu- 
lar or not, the catalogue does not pause to 
inform us. Corslets worn by his brave 
Castilians are also to be vended, perhaps the 
very leather and steel that guarded the honest 
heart of good Bernal Diaz. But all these 
treasures, and even the very "scissors" of 
Fernando Cortes, are less enticingly romantic 
than the iron head of Alvarado's spear. 
Surely no spear since that of Peleus' son, 
not to be wielded by meaner men, has ever 
been so well worth acquiring as the spear of 
Alvarado, Tonatrish the sun-god, as he was 
called by the Mexicans, by reason of his long, 
bright, golden hair. This may have been, pro- 
bably was, the spear that Alvarado bore when 
he charged up the steps of the great Teocalh* 
or God's house, rained upon by Aztec darts, 
driving before him the hordes of heathendom. 
With this very spear, when the summit was 
gained, he may have fought in that strange 



216 LOST LEADERS. 

fight, high in air, beheld by all the people of 
the city and all the allies of Spain. Here 
stood the Christian cross ; there was planted 
the war-god, Huitzilopochtli ; there the two 
faiths fought out their battle, and the van- 
quished were tossed dying down the sides 
of the Teocalli. Then the Spaniard was 
victorious ; fire was set to the Teocalli, and the 
cannibal Aztec religion rolled away in the 
clouds of smoke and vapour of flame. With 
the self-same spear (no doubt) did Alvarado 
make his famous leap, using it as a leaping 
pole to clear the canal during the retreat of 
the Night of Dread. Assuredly Alvarado's 
spear, or even the iron head of it alone, is an 
object worthy of an archaeologist's regard, and 
scarce less curious than that 

' ' Broomstick o' the Witch of Endor, 
"Weel shod wi' brass," 

which Burns describes in the collection of 
Captain Grove. But extraordinary as is the 
charm of these relics of Anahuac and of 
Castille, perhaps even more engrossing is the 
last article in this romantic catalogue, namely, 
" a green portfolio " giving an account of the 
various articles, and how they came into the 



SOME RARE THINGS FOR SALE. 217 

hands of their proprietor. Their pedigree, if 
authentic, must be most important. 

Probably the most inattentive mind, even 
in the holidays, could "tackle" a catalogue 
like this, or another in which the snuff-box of 
Xerxes and the boot-jack of Themistocles 
should be offered for sale. These antiquities 
seem scarcely less desirable, or less likely to 
come into the market, than the scissors, 
pistols, and field-glass of Fernando Cortes. 
An original portion of the Tables of the 
Law (broken on a familiar occasion by the 
prophet), Hannibal's cigarette case, a land- 
ing net (at one time in the possession of 
Alcibiades), a piece of chalk used by Archi- 
medes in his mathematical demonstrations, 
the bronze shoe of Empedocles, the arrow 
on which Abaris flew, and the walking-stick, 
a considerable piece of timber, which Dr. 
Johnson lost in Mull, may all be reposing 
in some private collection. Collectors do 
get very odd things together. Poor M. 
Soleirol had quite a gallery of portraits and 
autographs of Moliere, and a French mathe- 
matician, about a dozen years ago, possessed 
an assortment of apocryphal letters from 
almost every one mentioned in history, sacred 



2i8 LOST LEADERS. 

or profane. The collection of Mr. Samuel 
Ireland was like this, and an English student 
possessed autographs of most of the great 
reformers, carefully written by an ingenious 
swindler in contemporary books. The lovers 
of relics are apt to be thus deluded, and 
perhaps we should not regret this, as long as 
they are happy. But they should be very 
careful indeed when they are asked to buy 
Alvarado's spear, though probably it is extant 
somewhere, as it certainly is in the catalogue. 
It is a question of caution in the purchaser. 



( 219 ) 



CURIOSITY HUNTING, 

What will people not collect io this curious 
age, and what prices will they not pay for 
things apparently valueless? Few objects 
can seem less desirable than an old postage- 
stamp, yet our Paris correspondent informs 
us that postage-stamps are at a premium in 
the capital of taste and of pleasure. A well- 
known dealer offers £d^ \^s. for every Tuscan 
stamp earlier than i860, and ;^ 16 for particu- 
larly fine examples. Mauritius stamps of 
1847 are estimated — by the purchaser, mind 
— at two thousand francs, and post-marks of 
British Guiana of 1836, from five hundred 
to a thousand francs. Eighty pounds for a 
soiled bit of paper, that has no beauty to 
recommend it ! Probably no drawing of 
equal size from the very hand of Raffaelle 
or Leonardo would be priced nearly so high 
as these grubby old stamps. Yet the drawing 



222 LOST LEADERS. 

like aggery beads. Though Tanagra terra- 
cottas, and aggery beads, and fine examples 
of Moorish lustre, or of ancient Nankin, or of 
gold coins of the Roman Empire, are all rare, 
yet there is no definite limit to their number. 
More may turn up any day when the pickaxe 
breaks into a new Tanagra cemetery, when a 
fallen palm in Ashanti brings up aggery beads 
clinging to its earthy roots, when a pot of 
coins is found by some old Roman way, and 
so forth. To be sure, perfection may be 
attained in coin collecting, when a man has 
specimens of all known sorts, but even then 
he will pine for better specimens, for the best 
specimens. In the other branches of the 
sport we have mentioned the collector may be 
eager, of course, for good things, but he can 
never know the passion of the stampomaniac 
who has all sorts but three, and finds these 
within his reach. Perfection is within a step 
of such a man, and that step we fear he will 
take, even if it involves ever so many breaches 
of the Decalogue. In one of this month's 
magazines, in a story called " Mr. Pierrepoint's 
Repentance," Mr. Grant Allen tells the tale 
of a coin collector's infamy, and that coin 
collector a clergyman and fellow of his college. 



CURIOSITY HUNTING, 



22y 



A pope is said to have stolen a rare book 
from a painter, and it is certain that en- 
thusiastic collectors are apt to have "their 
moral tone lowered some," as the American 
gentleman said about the lady whom he had 
wooed with intentions less than honourable. 

A good example of the toils of the collector 
in pursuit of perfection is given by M. Henri 
Beraldi in his very amusing catalogue of M. 
Paillet's library. This book, by the way, is 
itself scarce, and the bibliomaniac will be 
rather lucky if he meets with it. M. Beraldi 
describes M. Paillet's copy of Dorat's " Fables," 
published in 1773, with illustrations by 
Marillier. Nobody perhaps ever reads Dorat 
now, but his book came out in the very 
palmiest days of the art of illustration in 
France. There were no pJiotogravures then, 
nor hideous, scratchy, and seamy " processes," 
such as almost make one despair of progress 
and of the future of humanity. The people 
that takes to "processes" is lost! The 
illustrations of the " Fables " were duly en- 
graved on copper. There were ninety-nine 
vignettes, and as many tail-pieces. The 
bibliographical history of the book is instruc- 
tive, either to young collectors or to the 



224 LOST LEADERS. 

common herd, not to speak impolitely — the 
persons who do not understand what collectors 
want. The "Fables" were originally pub- 
lished on three different sorts of paper, Dutch 
paper at seventy-two francs, French paper at 
twenty-nine francs, and on " small paper " at 
twenty-four francs. In 1853 the original 
drawings were bought by one of the Roths- 
childs for about £60 ; they would now, pro- 
bably, be worth at least ;^ 1,000. The ordinary 
copies of the book itself bring about £6, the 
large paper copies about ;^30, and a copy in 
old morocco can hardly be estimated — you 
may pay anything for it, as a copy in old calf 
has sold for ;^240. 

Such is the natural history of a book pretty 
valueless as literature, the " Fables " of Dorat. 
In the early edition of " Brunet's Manual," 
published in 1 821, the large paper copies of 
the work, with the engravings in the earliest 
state, are priced at from fifteen to eighteen 
francs. These vignettes had gone out of 
fashion ; they have come in again with a ven- 
geance. The high prices, eighty or a hundred 
pounds, are merely the beginning of what the 
great collectors are ready to pay, and to do, 
and to suffer in the cause of Dorat. In M. 



CURIOSITY HUNTING. 225 

Cohen's catalogue of all these old illustrated 
books special mention is made of M. Paillet's 
copy of the "Fables." It is "a superb 
example, with all the engravings printed 
separately/' But M. Paillet describes this 
specimen far more lovingly. All the designs 
are separately printed, and, oh joy ! all have 
all their margins uncut. The book is " all that 
man can dream of" in the way of perfection. 
Cuzin did the binding, in yellow morocco, 
tooled with roses and butterflies. " Reader," 
cries M. Beraldi, " if you are not a collector 
you cannot imagine the difficulty of getting 
such a copy. It is the thirteenth labour of 
Hercules." First you buy your text, then 
you must have the separately "^xinX.^di fleurons. 
These can only be picked up here and there, 
in sales and stalls. Perhaps you purchase 
half of them in one lucky investment. With 
no great difficulty you secure another lot. 
Then begins the hunt — you buy assortments 
at the price of bank notes, merely for the sake 
of two or three out of the mass. You offisr to 
barter twenty-five for one you have not got. 
Then you have all but three, which you de- 
mand from the universe at large ; then all but 
two ; then all but one. What you pay for 

Q 



226 LOST LEADERS. 

that one you keep a profound secret, lest your 
family should have you put under control. 
Even then you are not safe, for some of your 
engravings have false margins, and must be 
changed for entire examples. Such are the 
joys of the collector, for shadows we are and 
engravings a toutes marges we pursue. 



THE ENa 



7RINTBD BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED. 
LONDON AND BECCLBS. 



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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 




THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 



JUL 16 1915 






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